Chinese Sue For Freedom Of Information

The Chinese government continues its policy of deciding which information will be shared with citizens of the nation. Five citizens in Rucheng county in Hunan provice decided to institute action which, if successful, would begin the process of allowing Chinese people to obtain access to secret decision makng on the part of the their government. They worked for a State-owned water plant, but the county’s construction bureau signed a contract with a private investor and transformed the company into a joint venture. The workers challenged the legality of the bureau as a government agency to sign the contract, and in response, the government initiated an investigation but refused to share its results with the workers.

This may appear to be a minor issue, but it carries major implications for the people of China– have they legal rights when it comes to decision making on the part of government officials? An official told the workers, “the investigation is for the internal refrence of the county leaders, it does not belong to wha should be made public.” However, the State Council in January passed a law on “Rules of Openess Of Government Information of China” which requires government bodies to share information with the citizens of China. Who knows, maybe these five workers have initiated the process of obtaining for all Chinese citizens a version of the Freedom of Informaton Act that is currently in effect in America.

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