P.R.C Open Government Information Regulations (Draft Revisions for Solicitation of Comments)

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Chapter I: General provisions

 

Article 1: These Regulations are formulated so as to ensure that citizens, legal persons, and other organizations obtain government information in accordance with law, to increase the level of transparency in government work, to promote administration in accordance with law, to give full play to the role of government information in serving the public's production and livelihood and their economic and social activities.

Article 2: Government information as used in these Regulations, refers to information produced or acquired by the administrative organs in the course of their performance of administrative duties, which has been recorded or saved in some form.

Article 3: All levels of people's government shall improve the organizational leadership of open government information efforts.

The General Office of the State Council is the competent department for open government information efforts for the entire nation, and is responsible for promoting, guiding, coordinating and supervising the entire nation's open government information efforts.

The general offices of local people's governments at the county level or above are the competent department for open government information in that administrative region, and the general offices departments carrying out vertical leadership are the competent department for open government information in that system, responsible for promoting, guiding, coordinating, and supervising that administrative region and systems open government information efforts.

Article 4: All levels of people's government, as well as departments of people's governments at the county level or above, shall establish and complete systems for open government information efforts in that administrative organ, and designate bodies (hereinafter "open government information work bodies") responsible for routine open government information work.

The specific duties of open government information work bodies are:

(1) To specifically take on that administrative organs' open government information matters;

(2) Preserving and updating the government information disclosed by that administrative organ;

(3) Organizing the drafting of that administrative organ's open government information handbook, catalog of open government information, and annual report on open government information efforts;

(4) Organizing implementation of confidentiality reviews on government information to be disclosed;

(5) Establishing and preserving channels for communication of open government information, facilitating applicants' applications to that organ for disclosure of government information;

(6) Other duties related to open government information that that administrative organ provides.

Article 5: Disclosure of government information by administrative organs shall adhere to disclosure being the norm and non-disclosure the exception, and observe the principles of justice, fairness, and convenience for the people.

Administrative organ's disclosure of government information employs methods of proactive disclosure and disclosure upon request.

Article 6: Administrative organs shall promptly and accurately disclose government information.

Where administrative organs discover false or incomplete information that impacts, or might impact, social stability or disrupt social management order, they shall, within the scope of their duties, publish accurate information to clarify it.

Article 7: All levels of people's government shall actively promote open government information efforts, establish and complete mechanisms for adjusting the state of government information management, and gradually expand the scope of open government information.

Article 8: All levels of people's government shall strengthen standardization and electronic management of government information resources, integrating government information resources, and increasing the level of government information resource sharing.

Article 9: Citizens, legal persons, and other organizations have the right submit criticisms and suggestions on administrative organs' open government information work.

 

Chapter II: The Entities and Scope of Disclosure

 

Article 10: Responsibility for the disclosure of government information produced by administrative organs is with the administrative organ that produced that government information; responsibility for the disclosure of government information obtained from citizens, legal persons, and other organizations is with the administrative organ storing that government information; responsibility for the disclosure of government information obtained from other administrative organs is with the administrative organ that produced that government information. Where laws and regulations have separate provisions on the scope of authority for open government information, follow those provisions.

Where local people's governments at the county level or above have subordinate departments undertake matters related to their duties, the local people's governments at the county level or above may decide to have the subordinate department undertake open government information efforts for that matter, and disclose that decision to the public.

Where two or more administrative organs jointly produce government information, the administrative organ which took the lead in production is responsible for disclosure.

Article 11: Administrative organs shall establish and complete open government information coordination mechanisms. Where administrative organs' disclosure of government information involves other administrative organs, they shall consult and confirm with the relevant administrative organs to ensure that the information disclosed by the administrative organs is correct and uniform.

Where administrative organs' disclosure of government information requires approvals in accordance with relevant State provisions, there must not be disclosure without approval.

Article 12: Administrative organs shall draft and release open government information handbooks and open government information catalogs, and promptly update these.

The open government information handbooks shall include the government information types, arrangement systems, and methods for obtaining, and the open government information work bodies' name, address, work hours, contact number, fax number, and other relevant content.

Open government information catalogs shall include the index, titles, content summaries, and production dates and other such information on government information.

Article 13: Except where laws and administrative regulations provide otherwise, government information shall be disclosed.

Article 14: The following information may be not disclosed:

(1) Information that might have create an adverse impact on national defense, foreign affairs, national security, territorial integrity, ethnic unity, or other national interests, after its release.

(2) Information that, after disclosure, might impact the effective implementation or information security of major economic and financial policies, or cause abnormal fluctuations in economic and financial markets;

(3) Upon confirmation of the local people's government at the same level,information that,after disclosure, might endanger public safety or social stability within a certain scope,or information that involves ethnicity, religion, overseas Chinese, or other such matters, that after disclosure, might create an adverse impact.

Information designated as state secrets in accordance with law, and other information that laws or regulations prohibit the disclosure of, must not be disclosed.

Article 15: Administrative organs shall establish and complete mechanisms for open government information confidentiality reviews, clarifying the procedures and responsibilities for reviews.

Before administrative organs disclose government information, they shall conduct a review of the government information to be disclosed in accordance with the "People's Republic of China State Secrets Law", as well other laws, regulations, and relevant State provisions,

When administrative organs cannot determine whether government information may be disclosed, they shall follow laws, regulations, and relevant State provisions to report to the relevant competent department or that level's department for state secrets work for a confirmation.

Article 16: Administrative organs must not disclose government information that involves commercial secrets, and must not disclose government information that involves the other people's identity, communications, health, marriages, family, assets, or other personal private information. However, it may be disclosed upon the consent of the rights holder or where the administrative organ finds that nondisclosure might create a major impact on the public interest.

Article 17: Administrative organs internal work processes, personnel management,logistics management, and other information related to the internal affairs of the administrative organ, may be not disclosed.

Where, after disclosure, they might impact equitable decision making or the normal conduct of administrative acts, internal deliberation records and working drafts formed in the course of administrative decision making, as well as other process information such as consultation letters or requests for instruction between administrative organs, may be not disclosed. Where laws and regulations have provisions on administrative organs' disclosure of information formed in the process of performing government duties, handling is in accordance with those provisions.

Article 18: When administrative organs produce government information, they shall determine the disclosure class, and indicate whether the information is to be disclosed and the means of disclosure.

 

Chapter III: Proactive Disclosure

 

Article 19: Administrative organs shall proactively disclose government information related to major adjustments that involve the public's interests and require broad public understanding, as well as public decisions that require public participation.

All levels of people's governments at the county level or above and the departments thereof shall, within the scope of their own duties, proactively disclose the following government information:

(1) Laws, regulations, rules, and normative documents related to performance of their duties;

(2) That administrative organ's duties, organizational setup, office address, contact method, and name of legal representative;

(3) Procedures, requirements,and time periods for permits and other matters handled by that administrative organ, a catalogue of materials that the applicant needs to submit, and circumstances of handling;

(4) the basis, requirements, and procedures for administrative sanctions and administrative compulsion which that administrative organ is responsible for implementing;

(5) The circumstances of law enforcement inspections implemented by that administrative organ;

(6) Financial budget accounting information;

(7) Administrative fee collection programs, their legal basis and standards;

(8) Catalogs of the government’s centralized purchasing projects, their standards and their implementation;

(9) Information on the approval and implementation of major construction projects;

(10) Civil servant recruitment and hiring information;

(11) Statistical bulletin information produced by that administrative organ.

Article 20: In addition to the provisions of article 19 of these regulations, municipal and county (banner) people's governments shall also , on the basis of specific local conditions, proactively disclose government information involving areas such as construction, public services, public interests affairs, land requisition, the administration of public security, environmental protection, and emergency incident response. Based on specific local conditions, township (town) people's governments shall proactively disclose government information in areas such as policies for implementing village work, rural irrigation and water conservancy, transfer of rural land contract rights, review of homestead usage, collection of funds and labor, and social assistance.

Article 21: Administrative organs shall determine the specific content of government information to be proactively disclosed in accordance with articles 19 and 20 of these Regulations, and within their scope of duties,and gradually increase the content for proactive disclosure in accordance with that level of people's government's uniform deployment.

Article 22: Administrative organs shall disclose government information that is to be proactively disclosed through channels such as government bulletins, government websites, government new media, and press conferences, as well as through newspapers and periodicals, radio, and television.

Article 23: All levels of people's government shall rely on government website portals to gradually establish uniform open government information platforms, centralizing the publication of proactively disclosed government information and providing information retrieval, access, and downloading services.

Article 24: People’s governments at all levels shall set venues for reading government information in state archives, public libraries, and government service sites, and equip them with appropriate facilities and equipment to facilitate citizens, legal persons, and other organizations in obtaining government information.

As necessary, administrative organs may set up venues and facilities such as public reading rooms, materials request point, information bulletin boards, and electronic information screens to disclose government information.

Administrative organs shall promptly provide the state archives and public libraries with proactively disclosed government information.

Article 25: Government information within the scope of proactive disclosure shall be disclosed within 20 business days from the date on which the information was produced or changed. Where laws or regulations have different provisions on the time period for disclosing government information, follow those provisions.

When major emergency incidents such as natural disasters, accidents, public health incidents and public security incidents occur, the people's government performing unified leadership duties, or organizing the emergency incident response, shall, in accordance with relevant provisions, accurately and promptly disclose preliminary verification circumstances, and continue to disclose work developments, government response measures, and other such government information on the basis of the developing situation and response conditions,

 

Chapter IV: Disclosure by Application

 

Article 26: In addition to proactively disclosed government information, citizens, legal persons, and other organizations may apply to obtain relevant government information from State Council departments with public affairs management functions, local people's governments at all levels, and departments of people's governments at the county level or above that have public affairs management functions.

Article 27: Administrative organs shall establish and complete work systems for receiving, registering, reviewing, handling, responding to, and filing open government information applications, and strengthen regulation of work.

Article 28: Administrative organs may set up windows for acceptance of applications in office sites of government service sites, to accept open government information applications from citizens, legal persons, and other organizations.

Article 29: Where citizens, legal persons, and other organizations apply to obtain government information from administrative organs, they shall be submitted to the open government information work bodies in written forms including letters and electronic documents; where there is truly difficulty in using a written form, the applicant may make an oral submission, and the open government information work body accepting that application is to complete an application for open government information on their behalf.

Applications for open government information shall include the following content:

(1) The applicant's name [person or entity],proof of identification, and contact method;

(2) The applied for government information's name, document number, or other characteristic descriptions conducive to the administrative organs inquiry.

(3) Format requirements for applications to disclose government information, including the means and channels through which the information is to be received.

Article 30: Where the content of the open government information application is unclear, within 7 business days of receiving the application, the administrative organ may inform the applicant to supplement and correct it, further clarify the content, and newly submit the application, and the time prior is to be calculated from the date on which the administrative organ newly submits the application.

Article 31: Administrative organs shall reply to requests for open government information respectively in accordance with the following circumstances:

(1) Where the requested government information has already been proactively disclosed, the applicant shall be informed of methods or channels for reading or reproducing that government information;

(2) Where it may be disclosed, directly provide the applicant with the government information they requested, or inform the application of the means, channels, and times for obtaining that government information;

(3) Where it is within the scope that is not to be disclosed, the applicant shall be informed and the reasons explained;

(4) Where the government information does not exist, the applicant shall be informed that that government information does not exist;

(5) Where it is not information that is to be disclosed by that administrative organ, the applicant shall be informed, and where the disclosing organ for that government information can be sufficiently identified, the applicant shall be informed of the name and contact method for that administrative organ;

(6) Where the administrative organ has already made a response to an open government information request, and the applicant newly submits the same or a similar application to that administrative organ, the applicant shall be informed that it will not be newly addressed;

(7) Where government information has already been transferred to state archives at any level, the applicant shall be informed to handle it in accordance with the laws, regulations, and relevant national provisions on archive management.

Article 32: Where applications for disclosure of government information include content that shall not be disclosed, but it can be distinguished, the administrative organ shall provide the applicant with the information content that can be disclosed.

Article 33: Where applicants submit consultation request in the form of an open government information application, to carry out petitioning, complaints, or reporting, the administrative organ shall inform the applicant in writing that they will not address it.

Where the content of applications submitted by applicants requests that the administrative organ provide open publications such as government bulletins, newspapers and periodicals, or books, the administrative organ shall inform them of the channels for obtaining it.

Article 34: The information provided to applicants by administrative organs shall be government information that was already produced or obtained. Except for the differentiation processing allowed by article 32 of these Regulations, administrative organs must not provide newly collected or produced information, or process or analyze information they have.

Article 35: Where administrative organs find that applications to disclose government information involve commercial secrets or individual privacy that might harm the lawful rights and interests of a third parties after its release, it shall solicit the opinions of the third parties; the third party shall respond to the administrative organ within 15 days of receiving the solicitation of opinions; where the third party does not agree or does not answer within the set time, but the administrative organs find that non-disclosure might create a major impact on the public interest, they shall disclose it, and notify the third party in writing of the content of the government information it has decided to disclose and the reason.

Article 36: Where administrative organs receiving open government information applications are able to respond at the scene, they should reply at the scene.

Where administrative organs are not able to reply at the scene, they shall reply within 15 business days from receiving a request; where an extension of the time limit for replying is needed, they shall obtain the consent of the responsible person for the open government information work body and inform the applicant, the extension of the time limit must not exceed 15 business days at the longest.

Where applicants apply to administrative organs for the disclosure of large volumes of government information, and the administrative organ cannot respond to the applicant within the period provided in the preceding paragraph, the administrative organ may delay the response and inform the applicant.

The time needed for administrative organs to seek the opinions of third parties and other administrative organs is not be counted against the time limit provided in Paragraph 2 of this Article.

Article 37: The time of administrative organs' receipt of an open government information application is determined in accordance with the provisions below:

(1) Where the applicant submits the open government information application in person, the date of receipt is the date of submission;

(2) Where the applicant submits the open government information by mail, the date of receipt is the date on which the open government information work body signs for receipt;

(3) Where the applicant submits an open government information application through the open government information work body's email, the date of receipt is the date on which the email entered the email system designated by the administrative organ;

(4) Where the applicant submits an open government information application through the open government information work body's fax, the date of receipt is the date on which both sides confirm receipt;

Article 38: Where several applicants submit applications for the same government information to the same administrative organ, and that government information may be disclosed, the administrative organ may decide to include that information within the scope of proactive disclosure.

Article 39: Where applicants feel that government information disclosed by administrative organs upon application is related to major adjustments that involve the public's interests and require broad public understanding, as well as that related to public decisions that require public participation, they may suggest that the administrative organ include that information within the scope of proactive disclosure.

Article 40:Where citizens, legal persons, and other organizations have evidence showing that government information related to them that was provided by an administrative organ is not recorded accurately, they may request that the administrative organ correct it. Where the administrative organ with the authority to make corrections verifies it on review, it shall make corrections; where it is not within the scope of that administrative organ's duties, the administrative organ shall transfer it to be handled by an administrative organ with authority to make corrections, and inform the applicant.

Article 41: Administrative organs disclosing of information upon application shall determine the specific method of providing the government information on the basis of the applicants' requests and actual need to receive it; where provision in accordance with the applicant's requests would endanger the security of government information storage or have excessively high disclosure costs; they may provide it through appropriate methods such as arranging access for the applicant to relevant materials or providing reproductions or electronic data.

Article 42: Administrative organs providing government information upon application must not collect fees.

Administrative organs must not provide government information as a compensated service through other organizations or individuals.

Article 43:Where citizens applying for the disclosure of government information have trouble reading or have hearing or vision impediments, administrative organs shall provide them with necessary assistance.

 

Chapter V: Supervision and Safeguards

 

Article 44:All levels of people's government shall establish and complete systems for evaluation, social comment, and pursuit of responsibility in open government information efforts; and periodically conduct evaluations and comment on open government information efforts.

Article 45:The competent departments for open government information shall strengthen routing guidance and supervisory inspections of open government information work, and where administrative organs have not carried out open government information efforts as required, urge rectification or circulate criticism; where it is necessary to pursue accountability of the responsible leaders and other directly responsible personnel, a recommendation on handling is to be submitted to an authorized organ in accordance with law.

The competent departments for open government information shall periodically conduct training of open government information work staff in administrative departments under the same level of people's government.

Article 46:By January 31 of each year, the departments of all levels of people's government at the county level or above, and administrative organs with vertical leadership, shall submit the preceding year's annual open government information work report to the competent department for open government information they are under, and release it to the public.

By March 31 of each year, the competent departments for open government information shall release that level of government's annual open information work report.

Article 47:The annual reports on open government information work shall include the following content:

(1) Circumstances of the administrative organ's proactive disclosure of government information;

(2) Circumstances of the administrative organ's receipt and handling of open government information applications;

(3) Circumstances of being subject to an application for administrative reconsideration or administrative lawsuit due to open government information;

(4) The primary problems that exist in open government information efforts and their improvement;

(5) Other matters that need to be reported.

The competent department for open government information across the nation shall release a uniform format for annual work reports and update it when appropriate.

Article 48: Where citizens, legal persons, and other organizations find that the conduct of administrative organs in disclosing government information upon application violates their lawful rights and interests, they may apply for an administrative reconsideration or raise an administrative suit in accordance with law.

Article 49: Where administrative organs violate the provisions of these Regulations by failing to establish and complete confidentiality review mechanisms for open government information, the administrative organ at the level above is responsible for ordering corrections; where the circumstances are serious, the leaders with responsibility and other directly responsible personnel are given sanctions in accordance with law.

Article 50:In any of the following circumstances, where administrative organs violate the provisions of these Regulations, the administrative organ at the level above is to order corrections; and where the circumstances are serious the leaders with responsibility and other directly responsible personnel are given sanctions in accordance with law; and where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility is pursued in accordance with law.

(1) Not performing open government information obligations in accordance with law;

(2) Not promptly updating the contents of government information that has been disclosed, the open government information handbook, and the open government information catalog;

(3) Collecting fees in violation of provisions;

(4) Providing government information as a compensated service through other organizations or individuals;

(5) Other conduct violating the provisions of these Regulations.

 

Chapter VI: Supplemental Provisions

 

Article 51:These Regulations apply to open government information activities of organizations that are authorized by laws or regulations to have public affairs management functions.

Article 52: Where laws or administrative regulations have special provisions on parties or stakeholders obtaining government information, follow those provisions.

Article 53:The disclosure of information that is produced or obtained in the course of providing public services by public enterprises and public institutions that are closely related to the public's interests such as education, healthcare, family planning, water supply, electricity supply, gas supply, heating, environmental protection and public transportation,is to be implemented on the basis of relevant laws, regulations, and provisions of the relevant competent departments or bodies under the State Council. The competent departments for open government information for the entire nation may draft special provisions as required by actual conditions.

Where public enterprises and public institutions provided for in the preceding paragraph failing to disclose information that is produced or obtained in the course of providing public services on the basis of relevant laws,regulations, and provisions of the relevant competent departments or bodies under the State Council; citizens, legal persons, and other organizations may make a collateral appeal to their supervisory department, and departments receiving such collateral appeals shall promptly investigate and handle them, and give information on the outcome of the handling.

Article 54:These Regulations take effect on 20--/--/--.

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