Posted by Joel Martinsen on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 4:38 PM
In early March, a blogger in Guangdong sent an Open Government Information request to the Ministry of Public Security asking for the total sum that public security departments had collected in administrative fines in 2009.
Under the provisions of a set of regulations that went into effect in 2008 to "enhance transparency of the work of government [and] promote administration in accordance with the law," Chinese citizens can file requests for information with government agencies.
Of course, actually obtaining the requested information is not always an easy matter. Here's a translation of the faxed reply the blogger received in early April:
In addition to this generic form letter with its two possible responses, a second faxed page contained the reason for rejecting the request:
"Relevant departments" () is a term frequently used in government documents to refer to agencies whose identity should be understood in context, and by civil servants and government spokespersons to evade questions by providing a non-answer. The blogger remarks:
Article 21 of the Regulations stipulates the actions that government agencies ought to take upon received requests for information (translation from The China Law Center at Yale Law School):
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