Many govt web­sites fail to be use­ful

Nearly 1 in 5 at or be­low county level does not of­fer timely, use­ful in­for­ma­tion, sur­vey finds

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG YI zhang_yi@chi­

Nearly one out of ev­ery five web­sites run by gov­ern­ments at or be­low county level is fail­ing to pro­vide use­ful in­for­ma­tion and ser­vices to the pub­lic in a timely man­ner, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­veyby the State Coun­cil.

Liu Shany­ing, a po­lit­i­cal science re­searcher at the Chi­nese Academy of Social Sciences, said there is a lack of ef­fec­tive su­per­vi­sion of gov­ern­ment web­sites.

“Peo­ple do not even know how to com­plain about a dys­func­tional web­site when they en­counter one. Most peo­ple are not be­ing in­formed, and some web­sites were set up purely to cope with the ad­min­is­tra­tive in­spec­tions of higher-level gov­ern­ments,” Liu said.

The sur­vey looked at 607 gov­ern­ment web­sites at or be­low county level dur­ing the first three­month­sof the year.

Most of the un­sat­is­fac­tory sites lack use­ful pub­lic service in­for­ma­tion, the sur­vey found, and in­for­ma­tion such as travel re­ports, weather re­ports and up­com­ing films in the county were the only items up to date.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fice for the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in He­nan prov­ince, for ex­am­ple, said it had found that about half of the gov­ern­ment web­sites in the prov­ince were not func­tioningand­some­failed­tomeet­stan­dards.

In An­hui prov­ince, nearly 2,000 dys­func­tional gov­ern­ment web­sites have been shut downsinceMarch last year.

The lat­est sur­vey found that some in­for­ma­tion on web­sites from the forestry bureau in Zezhou county, Shanxi prov­ince, and the ed­u­ca­tion bureau in Jian­chang county, Liaon­ing prov­ince, had not been up­dated for seven years.

Com­plaints about gov­ern­ment web­sites have in­creased re­cently, and crit­i­cism has been aroused by un­sat­is­fac­tory replies to ques­tions from the pub­lic.

InMarch, the web­site ofXi­apu county in Fu­jian prov­ince re­sponded to a ques­tion in its com­mu­ni­ca­tion col­umn by say­ing: “Please read our pre­vi­ous re­ply three times. If you still­don’t un­der­stand the re­ply, please come to the house­hold reg­is­tra­tion desk of our of­fice for fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion.”

A na­tional land re­sources bureau in Sichuan prov­ince, when asked why prop­erty rights for lo­cal res­i­den­tial build­ings were only 40 years, in­stead of the na­tional stan­dard of 70 years, replied: “Whether we will still be alive in this world 40 years from now re­mains a ques­tion. So stop over­think­ing about the dis­tant fu­ture.”

The gov­ern­ment of Liaon­ing prov­ince re­cently de­cided to re­move the web­sites of gov­ern­ments at county and town­ship lev­els and ur­ban com­mu­nity of­fices from its work­ing plan to im­prove the trans­parency of gov­ern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tion, and it will in­te­grate some from these sites into the web­sites of gov­ern­ments at higher lev­els.

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