Naked Government

The New York Times highlights a changing decades-old tradition in China for the government not to disclose information on its spending habits.  The original story on Asia Times Online talks about a small town in the Sichuan province, where public officials decided to disclose its budget.  The findings are quite interesting – 65% of government funds were spent on entertainment and accommodations…of local public officials.  But, as the story notes, the public is not outraged about the spending – most of the people seem to be happy with the fact that the government is actually releasing the numbers.

(Part of Publicized Baimiao Village Government Spending in January. Source:

This translation of a Chinese commentary notes that in just 3 days the story got the attention of more than 300,000 people on the web.  It has some interesting opinions on what it all means and ends with a rather provocative question: whether this move by a village government is a call to other governments throughout the country to do the same?  Will others step up to the plate?