Spotlight on Geopolitics

Behind Closed Doors

This week, Wang Qing of China Youth Daily has publicly asked the Chinese government to provide details regarding its economic recovery plan.

The Chinese recovery plan, adopted in November last year, has a total value of 4.000 billion yuan or around 455 billion euros. According to official press releases, railways, airports and freeways would be given priority and would receive about 2.000 billion yuan until the end of 2010. Another 1.000 billion yuan would be allocated in the next two years to rebuilding the rural irrigation infrastructure, to housing, health, environment and education.

On the 7th of January, 2009, Yan Yiming, a Shanghai lawyer, has formally requested of the National Commission for Development and Reform (CNDR) in Beijing to give details about which development projects would receive financing : “I demand total transparency regarding the list of the approved projects, the justification of the decisions, as well as the money allocated to each project. I would like to know what surveillance measures would be adopted and which state authorities would be in charge of supervising the flow of money” (Source: Courrier International).

According to Wang Qing of “China Youth Daily” (the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League in China), although the Chinese state has, since 2008, the legal obligation to respond to such requests within two weeks, the Shanghai lawyer has received no answer as yet.

Known for its pro-reform views, the “China Youth Daily” has backed the request by insisting that the government publicly satisfy the lawyer´s demand for information. According to Qing, it is absolutely normal for any Chinese taxpayer to be informed in transparency about where the money is going to go and who is going to supervise the complex process of the funds’ distribution.

Over the past seventy years, the application of keynesian remedies during economic downturns has become commonplace. For these to work, however, the decisions regarding the allocation of the money cannot be taken behind closed doors. Such vital decisions have to be taken in a transparent and democratic fashion. Failing this, the Chinese bureaucrats might find, to their surprise, that the remedies employed by them will only have a placebo effect on the pacient.

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