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Thursday, May 7, 2015, 12:49

Li once again lashes out at red tape

By Xinhua

BEIJING - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang harshly criticized the country's culture of excessive regulation and red tape on Wednesday, wondering how officials could possibly demand a citizen prove "your mother is your mother" when assessing an application for government permit.

"How ridiculous! The citizen only intended to travel abroad and take a vacation," Li was quoted as saying Wednesday at a State Council executive meeting in a report published on the Cabinet's website. "I wonder whether these government departments are there to care for the public or intentionally obstruct them."

To underline his point, Li related another incident in which a model worker from the southernmost province of Hainan had been made to acquire eight stamps from the government before he could attend a high-level event in Beijing. The citizen's ordeal had ended only after a senior official from the provincial government had stepped in.

"Why is it so hard for the public to obtain certificates from the government? Why do government departments set so many barriers for ordinary citizens?" Li demanded.

He said after two years of simplifying administrative procedures and decentralizing power, there still existed a wide gap between reality and people's expectations from public services.

This is not the first time that Li expressed his impatience with the country's bureaucracy. Li lambasted officials in April for favoring time-consuming, redundant procedures in implementing central policies. He also criticized state-owned banks for not cooperating with efforts to boost economic growth during an inspection trip to Jilin province in the northeast.

Li recalled at the meeting how a Taiwanese entrepreneur had once lamented that the government did not do enough to protect intellectual property.

"After we have developed a new product, someone will instantly copy us. But it is still useless when we turn to the government or move court," Li was quoted as quoting the Taiwan businessman as saying.

Li vowed the government would make public services more accessible to the public.

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