China to close thousands of liaison offices in Beijing

China plans to close thousands of offices established by regional governments in Beijing following longstanding allegations of corruption, the influential Outlook Weekly reported in its latest issue.

The report said that various offices representing administrative departments of regional governments, management committees of economic development zones or governments at county levels will be closed within six months.

It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 such offices, including 5,000 established by county-level governments.

Zhu Lijia, director of public administration studies teaching and research section of the National School of Administration, said that many offices have become mere "reception centers" instead of offering other functions.

"A modest calculation will put the total expenditure of those offices at more than 10 billion yuan," the report said, citing an anonymous expert.

However, some offices, such as those set by provincial governments, autonomous regions and municipalities, will be kept to continue their work to promote regional economic growth and contributing to stability in Beijing.

It was also reported that the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China, a powerful anti-corruption watchdog, began a major investigation of the offices in 2006. Other senior officials also warned against the corruption in these offices and urged authorities to strengthen regulations.

The problems with the Beijing offices targeted for closing, in addition to the large number, are the lack of clearly defined responsibilities and an underdeveloped supervision mechanism, according to the report.

Source: Chinadaily.com.cn