Supervision Key to Reforming Use of Gov't Cars
    2010-11-28 19:16:38      Web Editor: Xu Leiying
The Chinese central government is planning further reform of the use of cars that belong to central government departments and organs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

In March, the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, one of the country's eight democratic parties, submitted a proposal on reforming the use of government cars.

The proposal suggested doing away with government cars for officials under mid ranking administrative levels and formulating a mechanism for recording and supervising the use of government cars.

China has a long-lasting tradition of dispatching cars to government officials for business use, originating from an era when the country's transportation system was underdeveloped.

Reliable statistics show that a single government car can cost up to 60,000 yuan, or about 9,000 U.S. dollars a year, to run, amounting to more than 100,000 yuan a year in some cases.

About 2 million cars are used by government officials in China at a cost of 150 to 200 billion yuan each year.

Those figures didn't include cars used by officials in the military departments.

The reform has aroused hot debate in society. Some say the reform is deadlocked by the beneficiaries of government cars on one hand and the decision-makers on the other.

An editorial in the Shanghai Business Daily says the key of the reform is its transparency and strict supervision.

The article says there have been unsuccessful efforts to reform use of government cars before. Existing regulations on the management and use of government cars have amounted to nothing but scraps of paper. Therefore, the key to the reform is accountability. The article points out that opening government affairs and finances to the public is crucial as well.

The editorial further points out that in China's privilege culture, government cars are now also a symbol of the rider's social status, not a mere transportation tool. The commentator believes this is one of the reasons most of the reform efforts are ineffective.

The article believes the aim of the reform should be building up an effective supervision system, not simply canceling government cars.

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