26 September 2023

CHINA: Hotline service keeps Council workers busy

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In September 2021, a Beijing resident called a City Council hotline to report that there were no bus routes near a newly-built school in the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area.

Within two months, a new bus route was launched.

The Chinese capital, a metropolis housing more than 20 million people, has adopted a new approach to city management since 2019.

It now works with 49 State-owned Public Service enterprises and institutions to offer a major hotline service to the city.

A total of 750 lines receive questions and complaints related to public services from local residents 24 hours a day.

Chief of the Reform Division at the Beijing Municipal Administration, Geng Yu said action was always taken on the most frequently reported city problems or demands.

“We put the people at the centre, no matter whether it is about urban governance or providing services to the people,” Mr Yu said.

“There’s an old saying we have in China: ‘The water that keeps a ship afloat can also overturn it’.”

President Xi Jinping quoted it in a speech last year to the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress to describe the relationship between the people and the Party.

He referred to the water as the people while the boat was the Party’s leadership.

Mr Xi urged that “tackling problems that prompt the strongest public reaction and that threaten to erode the very foundation of the party’s governance” must be prioritised.

“We must protect the people’s fundamental interests, improve their wellbeing, and work tirelessly to ensure that development is for the people and by the people and that its fruits are shared by the people,” Mr Xi said.

“We must do a better job of seeing that the gains of modernisation benefit all our people fairly.”

Beijing, 6 June 2022

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