Number of open government information lawsuits increases in Guangdong

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Recently, the Guangdong High People’s Court published the statistics for administrative cases brought against government for disclosure of informations. The data show that, compared to the previous year, the number of cases accepted by local courts increased by 73% in 2013, and 39% in 2014. Although the rate of applicant that win such cases is still low (10% in 2013; 12% in 2014), this is a pivotal step to promote government transparency.

Experts agree that Guangdong is leading the way in this area: in fact, it was the first province to approve a regulation on government disclosure of informations. However, much remains to be done on the matter at hand. It has been argued that one of the causes of government non-disclosure of informations, or disclosure of misleading information is the lack of a comprehensive set of rules. The laws on government transparency are still narrow in scope and unclear on procedures, thus allowing government departments to take advantage of their power and position.

Yet, experts look optimistically to the increase of citizens awareness of their rights; and to their willingness to challenge government transparency policies. This doesn’t mean more lawsuits equal more transparency, but is a positive step towards a balanced relationship between citizens rights and government power.

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