Monday, January 8, 2007

Govt website ranks 744th around world

China's central government website opened early Sunday morning has become one of the most popular government websites by taking up the 744th place among all websites in just 24 hours.

According to Alexa, a professional web information service provider, the traffic rank of "", out of top 100,000 at the beginning of a trial launch, hit 3803 over the three trial months among more than 12 million websites.

And now it ranks No. 2 among major national government websites, next only to the Canadian government website.

"The opening of the website marks a major step forward in building a transparent government that serves the people," said WuJiang, president of the China research institute on personnel sciences.

The website serves as a platform for the departments under the State Council, and the provincial, autonomous regional and municipal governments across the country to release information on governmental affairs and provide online services.

The website, in traditional and simplified Chinese versions, has four sections which respectively provide information about government affairs, online services for citizens, enterprises and foreigners, interactive communication between governments and citizens, and other applied functions.

The English version of the website also provide commercial and traveling information services for non-Chinese speakers.

Zhou Xisheng, editor-in-chief of the central government website, said that miscommunication between the government and people has become an imperative issue calling for solution as it may give birth to corruption and public misunderstanding of the government.

The establishment of the website, said Zhou, who is also the president of Xinhua website, represents a major move to improve the government's work style and build up a transparent, effective, practical and clean government.

The Taiwan-based United News gave a detailed description of the website, praising that the website can not only issue major official decisions, laws and regulations, official documents, but offers an easy access to the public to facilitate their communication with the government.

China started to promote construction of government websites since late 1990s, with 1999 being the peak time. But the over 10,000 websites of governments at various levels have long faced problems such as lack of planning and management, overlapped or outdated information.

The opening of the central government website is expected to change the situation, said Wang Yukai, professor with the State Administrative College.

Netizens expressed their surprise toward some uncommon activities of the website since its trial launch. It has carried unheard-of live broadcasts of the State Council's teleconferences between the cabinet and provinces to netizens for three times.

"The vice-premier wasn't shy away from the problems and showed responsibility to the public," said a netizen after watching such a lively broadcasted meeting last November in which vice-premier Wu Yi deployed the nation-wide working of anti-bird flu.

Moreover, the communiques, decrees and documents released by the central government since 2000 have been also published on the website.

According to an online survey, 93 percent respondents were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with the operation of the website.

"It's quite an amazing popularity in this virtual world where everyone could release his comment to others" said Zhou.

Although the construction of e-governance is still at its initial stage and many problems remain to be solved, the netizens'support and suggestions show their strong expectation to government management reform.
Editor: Ling Zhu
Source: Xinhua
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