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Government needs to be open: premier

PEOPLE had the right to criticize government policy and government needed to be open and democratic in its policy-making, Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday in his online chat with Netizens.

"I always think that people have the right to know what the government is thinking and doing, and voice their criticism of government policy," Wen said.

The premier said he was nervous about his first-ever online discussion with Netizens, although he surfed the Internet everyday for up to an hour.

"But I will always remember my mother's words to be sincere with people. I will talk to you with my heart. I will be honest, that is, I will tell you the true situation and listen to your true voices," he said.

Wen's chat with Netizens came just days before the annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing this week.

This year's "two sessions," convened at a time when the global financial crisis is still spreading, are expected to focus on thorny issues such as the increasing jobless rate, social security, medical care and corruption. These issues were well reflected in the nearly 90,000 questions thrown in the chatroom at the premier.

Wen said he was aware that corruption was a top concern even as the nation struggled to cope with financial crisis.

"Mentioning anti-corruption, I think the most important thing is to solve defects in our system. Corruption can only be rooted out when power is supervised," he said.

He announced that the government was making "active preparations" for civil servants to declare assets, a move long anticipated.

"Such a declaration system must be established and carried out to produce substantial results," he told Netizens. "It should be a major move to fight corruption."

Wen said the most important thing in combating corruption was to establish a good system that could prevent power from being too centralized without restriction.

"Only when power is restricted can corruption be prevented fundamentally," the premier added.


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