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Mobile phones of Jiangxi's top officials run hot
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-08-07 07:41

The phone numbers of two top officials in Jiangxi province have become so popular with the public, the authorities have had to double the number of operators answering their calls.

The authorities made public the phone numbers of governor Wu Xinxiong, vice-governor Shi Wenqing and 11 mayors on Saturday so they could hear complaints concerning the allocation of housing for low-income families.

Four employees of the provincial bureau of construction, which is in charge of the housing sector, have been answering calls for the governors.

The calls have been so numerous, the phones of the two are now jammed, an official told the Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday.

In addition to more than 1,000 text messages, more than 2,000 people have called the governors on topics ranging from the allocation of houses, foul play to issues relating to social security, the official said.

Many also called from outside the province simply to check the authenticity of the numbers.

The authorities have added more phones and doubled the number of operators. The mailbox addresses of the governors have also been publicized to ease the strain on calls, he said.

Officials said the phones are running so hot that they have had to use wet towels to cool them down, he said.

Governor Wu promised on Tuesday to publicize regularly how the government had been handling the complaints.

"The channels enable us to voice our concerns directly to the highest ranking officials of the province who are in a position to improve the performance of other city officials," Fang Xing, of Pengze county, Jiangxi, said.

However, he said it was disappointing that the governors were not handling the calls themselves.

"I am also concerned whether they will be able to properly deal with all the complaints," Fang said.

Many said the government needs an accountability and supervision system instead of relying on phone calls.

"We shouldn't expect our governors, who are busy people, to deal with minor matters every day. That would be a waste of time," Wang Xiongjun, a PhD student at Peking University, said.

A similar campaign was initiated in Kunming, Yunnan province, early this year. The response was so great, a local newspaper that published the phone numbers of officials, sold out within hours.

Source:China Daily 
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