BEIJING, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's central government has closed 625 of the 971 local government liaison offices in Beijing after the public criticized the offices for allegedly bribing central government officials and wasting public funds.
According to a detailed list the State Council released Tuesday, the offices shut down include eight that represented major cities, 189 that represented local government departments at various levels, 374 that represented counties and 54 that represented development zones and other government units.
On Jan. 19, the State Council's General Office issued a circular urging a reduction in the number of local government liaison offices in Beijing.
The circular also called for stricter supervision of the offices to cut costs and fight corruption.
"After the State Council circular, many local governments set up special teams to investigate their liaison offices and map out plans to regulate them," said an unnamed official from the Government Offices Administration of the State Council.
"Applications to keep the offices open were strictly reviewed. The offices whose management was disorderly or unclear were eliminated, as were the ones that did not function satisfactorily," said the official.
Some 296 offices representing major cities and all 50 offices that represent China's provinces and special economic zones were permitted to keep offices in the capital.
According to the official, government departments which set up the now closed liaison offices were responsible for settling with their staff properly and managing all state assets in accordance with regulations.
Liaison offices usually have assets that include apartments, guest houses, hotels and restaurants.
Calling the move "finished on the whole," the official also noted some problems following the shutdown.
"Some office workers haven't been transferred back yet... and the property of some offices was not settled properly. We will help the relevant government departments with their follow-up management work," the official said.
The official stressed that local government departments were strictly forbidden to set up new offices in other forms.
The January circular clarified the major functions of those retained liaison offices, outlining that they should offer "high-quality, frugal and efficient" services for the economic and social development of their localities.
These offices should also cooperate with the Beijing municipal government in maintaining the capital's stability, offering services for institutions and people from their localities, and help to administer and provide training and services for officials from their localities who come to work in Beijing, the official said.
To enhance supervision, local governments should conduct audits on their liaison offices each year, and the Government Offices Administration will conduct spot-checks on the audits when necessary, according to the official.