Many govt websites fail to be useful

Updated: 2016-05-26 14:20

By ZHANG YI(China Daily)

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Nearly 1 in 5 at or below county level does not offer timely, useful information, survey finds

Nearly one out of every five websites run by governments at or below county level is failing to provide useful information and services to the public in a timely manner, according to a recent survey by the State Council.

Liu Shanying, a political science researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said there is a lack of effective supervision of government websites.

"People do not even know how to complain about a dysfunctional website when they encounter one. Most people are not being informed, and some websites were set up purely to cope with the administrative inspections of higher-level governments," Liu said.

The survey looked at 607 government websites at or below county level during the first three months of the year.

Most of the unsatisfactory sites lack useful public service information, the survey found, and information such as travel reports, weather reports and upcoming films in the county were the only items up to date.

The administration office for the provincial government in Henan province, for example, said it had found that about half of the government websites in the province were not functioning and some failed to meet standards.

In Anhui province, nearly 2,000 dysfunctional government websites have been shut down since March last year.

The latest survey found that some information on websites from the forestry bureau in Zezhou county, Shanxi province, and the education bureau in Jianchang county, Liaoning province, had not been updated for seven years.

Complaints about government websites have increased recently, and criticism has been aroused by unsatisfactory replies to questions from the public.

In March, the website of Xiapu county in Fujian province responded to a question in its communication column by saying: "Please read our previous reply three times. If you still don't understand the reply, please come to the household registration desk of our office for further consultation."

A national land resources bureau in Sichuan province, when asked why property rights for local residential buildings were only 40 years, instead of the national standard of 70 years, replied: "Whether we will still be alive in this world 40 years from now remains a question. So stop overthinking about the distant future."

The government of Liaoning province recently decided to remove the websites of governments at county and township levels and urban community offices from its working plan to improve the transparency of government administration, and it will integrate some from these sites into the websites of governments at higher levels.