Disclosure of collections

Updated: 2013-09-05 07:45

(China Daily)

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How much has been levied in fees on those who have violated the family planning policy and where has the money gone?

With the National Audit Office saying that it has not paid due attention to the auditing of this money because of the pressure of a tight work schedule, it seems that it will take some time before the total amount accrued and the details about its spending are revealed to the public.

When a lawyer from East China's Zhejiang province asked the family planning departments of 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in July how much they had collected in fees in 2012 and how the money had been spent, 17 of them released their figures. On Sept 1, 14 lawyers followed up by applying to the National Audit Office for detailed auditing information about these fees.

The public has been kept in the dark about the amount of money collected from such penalties and where the money goes, as the government has never revealed any details.

An official from the National Health and Family Planning Commission on Tuesday couched in vague language that the money is spent as it should be. He also said that for many years the fees have been handed over to the national coffers.

It is five years since the regulations about government information disclosure took effect. In accordance with the regulations, there is no reason why the central and local governments are still not disclosing information about the fees to the public.

Keeping the public in the dark about the total amount raised and how much has been spent on what, will only lead to suspicions of mismanagement or abuse.

It is the obligation of the family planning departments to give a detailed account of the money they collect from such fees.

The family planning authorities at both central and local levels may consider the disclosure of this information an imposition or irritation. But it serves as a reminder to both the general public and the government that a lot of money is raised from these penalties and the family planning departments should be held accountable for it.

(China Daily USA 09/05/2013 page11)

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