Clamming up on OGI


The Beijing News reported on November 30 that a woman from the city of Suzhou named only as “Ms. Wang” recently filed a lawsuit against China’s Ministry of Land and Resources after her request for access to information on a highway construction project under China’s 2008 National Ordinance on Open Government Information (政府信息公开条例) was denied. The case shows the immense difficulties facing citizens in China who attempt to use the open government information (OGI) legislation to monitor the government. The 2008 ordinance specifies that government agencies much keep logs of all available records, defines a range of areas where citizens are ostensibly allowed access to information, and defines the procedures by which citizens can apply for access to government information. In this cartoon, posted by artist Shang Haichun (商海春) to his blog at QQ.com, an ordinary citizen hopelessly tries to raise a huge bottle-opener labeled “open information” to the sealed mouth of a larger-than-life government official.

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