Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lack of FOI Framework in Ancient China

While the secrecy regime persisted in ancient China for a long period, China did establish some transparency mechanisms in the past. The Imperial Censorate, as one of the transparency mechanisms, was established in ancient China in the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC). Another transparency mechanism, the Imperial Expostulation was erected in the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD). The mechanism of letters and visits can be traced to the primitive society in the reign of Rao and Xun (about 5,000 years ago). However, one of the important transparency mechanisms, Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation has not existed in ancient China until recent years. In 1766, Sweden was inspired by the transparency mechanism in the Tang Dynasty, but quickly and easily expanded the concept of the transparency mechanism of ancient China to FOI, which did not exist in ancient China. The reasons for this lack of FOI framework in ancient China deserve deep analysis.

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