On October 16, 2009, the Guangzhou City Finance Bureau released budget information for all municipal offices, totaling more than 20 billion Yuan, on its website (http://www.gzfinance.gov.cn). Traffic has flooded the website. On October 23, it even caused the server to go down. This is the first time a government entity has released budgetary information to citizens.
However, details were still omitted, including dining on public money, traveling using public cars, and traveling abroad on public money, the infamous “three public” expenses, which represent a significant portion of government spending. Guangzhou’s budget also showed 60 million Yuan in “subsidy” given to 9 child daycare centers serving employees of the municipal offices, averaging 20 thousand Yuan per child.
Guangzhou’s action was in reply to the request from a volunteer group, “Public Budget Observer Volunteers.” The group submitted 33 budget requests to central ministries and municipal governments. All except Guangzhou rejected the request. Shanghai claimed the information was a “national secret” and "could not be released." After Guangzhou’s action, Shanghai reversed its position. It announced on October 29 that it will improve its budgetary openness and transparency and would research ways to release the information.
1. The website of the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China, October 26, 2009
2. People’s Daily, October 24, 2009
3. Nanfang Weekends Magazine, October 28, 2009
4. Eastday.com, the official website for Shanghai government, October 29, 2009