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January 29, 2010

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Liaison offices to be closed down

THE Chinese government has decided to cut the number of local government liaison offices in Beijing and strengthen supervision to cut costs and uncover corruption, a senior official from the Government Offices Administration of the State Council said yesterday.

Counties, local government departments, and development zones were ordered to close liaison offices in the capital within six months, the unnamed official quoted a circular issued by the State Council's General Office on January 19 as saying.

As of 2006, Beijing had 50 liaison offices representing China's provinces and special economic zones, 295 representing major cities, 146 representing local government departments and 436 representing counties, figures from the administration showed.

Liaison offices of provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions and special economic zones can retain their offices in Beijing, while established city-level liaison offices can be kept only after approval by provincial governments, according to the circular.

The official warned local governments to guard against loss of state assets when liaison offices were closed saying the assets should be dealt with according to regulations.

Liaison offices usually have assets that include apartments, guest houses and hotels, as well as restaurants.

The circular also clarified major functions of retained liaison offices, which should offer "high-quality, frugal and efficient" service for the economic and social development of their localities.

The liaison offices should shoulder tasks entrusted by their localities' Communist Party of China committees and government, as well as by the central Party and government organs, the official said.

They should also cooperate with the Beijing municipal government in maintaining the capital's stability, offer service for institutions and people from their localities, and help to provide training for migrant CPC members from their localities who came to work in Beijing, the official said.

The measures outlined in the circular could "create a cleaner government, build a good image of the CPC, cut administrative costs and push forward the transformation of the liaison offices' functions," the official said.


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