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Clear complaints handling

Updated: 2013-11-29 07:02
( China Daily)

Reform of China's complaint and petition handling system, or xinfang, was announced on Thursday. According to the State Bureau of Letters and Calls it is meant to solve whatever problems people complain about in a timely and transparent manner.

The online handling of complaints and petitions is one of the most noteworthy means that will likely bring about fundamental change. The bureau launched its online platform for complaints and petitions on July 1 this year and it has already received more than 130,000 complaints so far.

Clear complaints handling
Zhang Enxi(C), deputy head of the State Bureau for Letters and Calls (SBLC), made the remarks at a press conference on Thursday. [Photo / Xinhua]

The platform is to be further optimized so that all complaints can be received online. How the complaints have been dealt with will also be announced online. In this way, people will be able to see online how the complaints they have lodged have been handled.

And with an online connection between the complaint handling departments of both the central and local governments, the efficiency of receiving and handling complaints should be greatly raised.

A resident from Northeast China's Heilongjiang province lodged a complaint online about the difficulty in getting a housing certificate, and the problem was referred to the relevant local department the following day and solved in six days.

Of course, not all the problems people complain about are so easy to solve. The more than 130,000 complaints received online from July 1 until now speak volumes for the heavy workload of the departments handling the complaints.

Now the different departments at county and city level are required to organize joint sessions to handle complaints in a timely manner, and county and city leaders are to spare some days to receive petitioners to help them solve problems.

These new moves point to the complaint handling system moving in the right direction to finally function as a means to address people's grievances and promote the efficiency of social governance. Both of which are necessary for the healthy operation of the government.

Statistics from the Letters and Calls Bureau show that the number of complaints lodged in person over the last 10 months decreased by about 3 percent compared with the same period last year. With further reforms in the pipeline for a better social governing mechanism, and with the proposed reform of the complaint handling mechanism in particular, the number will likely further decrease.

(China Daily 11/29/2013 page8)