NEWS > Mainland
Mianyang's Lawmakers helping government improve efficiency
2006-04-12 03:25:01 Xinhua English
MIANYANG, Sichuan, April 12(Xinhua)-- Fan Liying has his fingers crossed that the government will adopt his proposal this year and make natural gas available to the 540 poverty-stricken families in his community without charging installation fees.

Though the same proposal fell on deaf ears last year, Fan has very good reason to be confident this year because his proposal, submitted again to Mianyang Municipal People's Congress in March, was published on Mianyang Daily, the most widely read newspaper in Mianyang, a city with 5.2 million people in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The newspaper carried 114 proposals from local lawmakers as well as the government departments responsible for implementing each of the proposals, with names of the people in charge and their telephone numbers.

Yu Yuenian, an official with Mianyang Municipal Construction Bureau, found his name and telephone number on the newspaper, because he is supposed to implement Fan's proposal and provide 540 poor families in Shunhejie Street with easier access to natural gas.

"It surely brings much pressure," said Yu,"I hope the pressure will turn out to be a driving force for me to do a better job."

Shortly after Fan's proposal appeared on the local newspaper, a vice mayor visited Shunhejie Street to see the residents' living condition and instantly discussed the feasibility of the proposal with a construction official.

Though it is still unclear when natural gas will eventually be piped to their community, the residents are delighted all the same because"at least they've seen hope", said Fan.

As a deputy to the local legislature, Fan submitted to the same proposal last year, but the local government didn't take any action.

"Some bureaucrats turn a deaf ear to deputies' proposals concerning knotty issues," said Li Youquan, vice director of the Standing Committee of Mianyang Municipal People's Congress."Some even think the deputies are making trouble."

Very often, the deputies submit some constructive proposals without knowing which government department is expected to handle the case eventually, said Li Shangzhi, deputy secretary-general of the committee.

The committee's decision this year to publish all deputies' proposals and detailed information of relevant government offices was objected by many officials, but it was determined to go ahead with the bold move, he said.

The move will be effective in improving transparency and enabling the public to see weather the government is doing its job, said Guo Dan, a political science researcher with Sichuan Provincial Academy of Social Sciences.

"It urges the government to seek solutions to issues concerning the fundamental interests of the people and therefore help the local government departments improve efficiency," said Li Yalian, vice mayor of Mianyang.

Since the beginning of this year, local legislatures have intensified their efforts to improve transparency and promote democracy in their work. They've also kept the public informed of what they are doing.

The Sichuan Provincial People's Congress, for example, posted all its deputies' proposals on a most frequently visited local website before they were deliberated at its annual session.

In Chongqing Municipality that neighbors Sichuan, three deputies of the local legislature published their personal blogs to encourage online discussions with the netizens on employment, social security and other issues of common concern.

Local legislatures in Beijing, Henan and Guangxi also encouraged citizens to voice comments and suggestion by sending short messages via cell phones. Enditem


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