Ai sends letter to all reps

  • Source: Global Times
  • [00:59 March 11 2010]
  • Comments

By Wen Tao

A group of citizens led by renowned artist Ai Weiwei sent a letter Tuesday to all 35 delegations attending the annual session of the NPC, calling for transparency regarding the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

This letter says that last year the so-called “citizen investigators” had sent 113 letters to government departments at all levels, requesting the disclosure of information. But “none of the departments directly answered a single question raised by us,” the new letter said.

Eighty-four departments responded to last year’s “citizens’ investigation.” But all of them said the group should look for the information online, refusing to offer any other details, saying it concerns state or business secrets. Tuesday’s letter said the other 27 departments did not respond to last year’s letters, violating the regulations on the disclosure of government information, which require them to reply within seven business days.

Chen Xiaobo, a press liaison officer for the Sichuan delegation to the NPC, said that, as Ai and the other signatories are not NPC deputies, their letter can only be received by the petition officers of the delegation, as a record of public opinion.

Yang Quanfu, the press liaison officer for the Chongqing delegation, said he has not heard about the new letter and therefore could not comment.

Ai and some volunteers also posted the letter on a popular social micro-blog run by Wednesday morning. But the accounts containing extracts of the letter were suspended, and more than 70 accounts containing the char-acters Ai or Wei were “killed” by the webmaster Wednesday, Ai told the Global Times.

A customer service employee at said the reason for the suspension is the posts in those accounts contain sensitive material.

The team has filed lawsuits against state ministries responsible for education, civil affairs, housing and urban-rural development, as well as the State Seismological Bureau, for what the team calls their “administrative omission.”

This week’s letter also quotes a statement in the 2010 Report on the Work of the Government by Premier Wen Jiabao.

“We will promote transparency of administrative affairs, improve regulations for transparent governance and admin-istrative review, create conditions for the people to criticize and oversee the government, allow the media to fully play their overseeing role, and exercise power openly,” it said.