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Flying Dragon Seeking Freedom of Information: A Critique of Chinese OGI Regulations
Unformatted Document Text:  some governments in Shanghai, Beijing and Sichuan not only met the deadline but also submitted annual reports containing a wide variety of information. 98 Fourth, contrary to expectations among officials that OGI laws might be abused or overused, in some regions they are actually never used. For example, Hainan Province did not receive any OGI requests by March 2009. According to the annual OGI reports issued in April 2009 by nineteen cabinet-level government agencies under the direct jurisdiction of the State Council, all such ministerial level government agencies were not sued by any information seekers. 99 This is because of a lack of understanding of OGI laws among some Chinese citizens. Some people consider making OGI requests and/or suing government agencies as something that should be avoided since they don’t want to offend powerful government officials. The unwillingness of them to exercise their right of access also contributes to the neglected state of the law in some areas. Fifth, the Chinese government seems unwilling to go too far and too soon in freedom of information. On January 12, 2010, the State Council General Office released additional Guidance on handling OGI requests. The Guidance provides that the government agency may reject OGI requests that are irrelevant with 98 郭锦辉 , 《政府信息公开亟须建设配套制度 —访中国社科院法学所研究员周汉华 》 [Jinhui Guo, Open Government Information Building Needs Supplementary Measures-Interview with Hanhua Zhou], China Economic Times, April 27, 2009. < http://business.sohu.com/20090427/n263633871.shtml >. (last visited 03/31/2011). 99 郭锦辉 , 《政府信息公开亟须建设配套制度 —访中国社科院法学所研究员周汉华 》 [Jinhui Guo, Open Government Information Building Needs Supplementary Measures-Interview with Hanhua Zhou], China Economic Times, April 27, 2009. < http://business.sohu.com/20090427/n263633871.shtml >. (last visited 03/31/2011).

Authors: Tang, Yong. and Martin, Halstuk.
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background image
 
 
some governments in Shanghai, Beijing and Sichuan not only met the deadline 
but also submitted annual reports containing a wide variety of information.
98
 
Fourth, contrary to expectations among officials that OGI laws might be 
abused or overused, in some regions they are actually never used. For example, 
Hainan Province did not receive any OGI requests by March 2009. According to 
the annual OGI reports issued in April 2009 by nineteen cabinet-level 
government agencies under the direct jurisdiction of the State Council, all such 
ministerial level government agencies were not sued by any information seekers. 
99
This is because of a lack of understanding of OGI laws among some Chinese 
citizens. Some people consider making OGI requests and/or suing government 
agencies as something that should be avoided since they don’t want to offend 
powerful government officials. The unwillingness of them to exercise their right of 
access also contributes to the neglected state of the law in some areas.  
Fifth, the Chinese government seems unwilling to go too far and too soon in 
freedom of information. On January 12, 2010, the State Council General Office 
released additional Guidance on handling OGI requests. The Guidance provides 
that the government agency may reject OGI requests that are irrelevant with 
                                                      
98
 
郭锦辉
《政府信息公开亟须建设配套制度
—访中国社科院法学所研究员周汉华
[Jinhui Guo, Open Government Information Building Needs Supplementary 
Measures-Interview with Hanhua Zhou], China Economic Times, April 27, 2009. 
<
>
(last visited 
03/31/2011). 
 
99
郭锦辉
《政府信息公开亟须建设配套制度
—访中国社科院法学所研究员周汉华
[Jinhui Guo, Open Government Information Building Needs Supplementary 
Measures-Interview with Hanhua Zhou], China Economic Times, April 27, 2009. 
<
>
(last visited 
03/31/2011). 


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