Rules Upon Rules: Henan Leaders Move to Prevent Local Abuse of National Information Release Legislation

David Bandurski at China Media Project looks at how effective a new law on openness of information will really be:

China’s national ordinance on openness of information, or xinxi gongkai tiaoli (信息公开条例), takes the stage just weeks from now. The document pledges to make government information available to the public in a whole range of areas — from public health and sanitation to education, utilities and urban planning. But what assurance do we have that this document will make any difference at all? None, save words and gestures.

As we’ve said time and again at CMP, the critical issue lurking behind the question of greater openness of information in China is political reform. Without real institutional change there is no way to guarantee officials do not suppress information they regard as unfavorable to their own interests.

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