China Continues Disclosures on Government Spending

30 July 2012

In a new round of disclosures, the Chinese central government July 18 revealed spending on receptions, vehicles and overseas trips by officials,  and China’s Cabinet has issued regulations to mandate such disclosures by state and local governments.

The latest disclosures were the second time that 98 central government departments and public institutions have publicized spending on sangong, the “three expenses,” according to a Xinhua report. They reported spending 9.36 billion yuan (1.48 billion U.S. dollars) on receptions, vehicles and overseas trips.

About 2 billion yuan was spent on overseas trips, 5.9 billion yuan on purchase and maintenance of vehicles, and about 1.5 billion yuan on public receptions. The budget for this year is 7.98 billion yuan, according to the report, with the decrease due to the exclusion of such expenditures by the armed police.

“Compared with last year’s brief reports, the statements on public consumptions by central government departments were more detailed this year, marking another step forward in improving transparency,” Liu Jianwen, a law professor at Peking University, told Xinhua. The story also quoted critics as saying the amounts disclosed still understate the spending.

“Even though the government has made progress in publicizing information, we still fail to live up to the public’s expectation,” said Bai Jingming, deputy director of the Research Institute for Fiscal Science with the MOF.

A schedule in Chinese on the information that was released is at: http://politics.people.com.cn/GB/8198/346636/index.html.

Extending Disclosures

Recent State Council regulations , according to a report in Caixin Media, “will now require local governments to declare expenditures on travel and entertainment.

The State Council regulations issued July 9 July 9 mandate that all local governments above the county-level establish an information disclosure system. “In addition, the new regulation bans government offices from constructing luxurious office buildings or purchasing premium facilities,” according to the report.

The regulation will take effect Oct. 1. A source at the Ministry of Finance said July 11 that the sangong budget in 2012 was 1.38 billion yuan less than in 2011, adding that funds for armed police were excluded this year. 

“Some local governments have already begun to take measures to combat excessive government spending,” according to the article. “In Zhejiang Province, party disciplinary authorities in Wenzhou issued rules to cap state dinner expenses at 60 yuan per person, Wenzhou Daily reported on July 4.  In southern China’s Guangdong Province, Guangzhou published the city’s sangong budget online in March, the first among local Chinese governments.”

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