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Kunming aiming for more government transparency

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A current buzzword in Kunming officialdom is 'soft environment' (软环境), which covers impalpable influences on daily life such as policies, laws and regulations. On Friday the Kunming Daily announced that "Kunming will put everything it has into creating a top-quality soft environment" (see image).

The next day, the newspaper took local government transparency in China to a new level. David Bandurski at China Media Project summarizes what happened:

"Since the weekend the Web has buzzed in China with the news that Kunming Daily, the mouthpiece of top leaders in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, printed a list of the names of city officials, their contact numbers and their specific areas of responsibility.

The February 16 edition of Kunming Daily included a four-page spread with information on local government officials. An online copy of the list, which ran on the Kunming news site www.clzg.cn, was feverishly downloaded by Web users, according to a report in today's China Youth Daily."

This rare example of transparency by a local government in China precedes a much-hyped upcoming national law regarding openness of information that is scheduled for approval in May.

According to Kunming's top official, party secretary Ying Yongsheng (应永生), a manual regarding Kunming's soft environment will be publicized soon to make the city's government more navigable for residents and investors.

Image: Kunming Daily

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