Promoted by the reforms by various regions in China, the local authorities' abilities to govern and serve the people have been significantly improved.
Using big data technology, more efficient ways have been developed to solve problems in the public sphere, according to a report by Xinhua-run Outlook Weekly.
KEEPING DATA BUSY, NOT PEOPLE
"I never expected that filling out one piece of paperwork is all you would need to change your household registration status, obtain property ownership certificates and transfer schools," said Ge Xiaoju, who recently settled in eastern China's Zhejiang Province as a worker.
It only took her a few days to go through the procedures, which she expected would take months.
The convenience Ge enjoyed is the result of a reform conducted by Zhejiang to promote digital transformation and make sure that only one trip is needed for people to handle affairs with the authorities.
An e-government service platform set up by Zhejiang Province has seen over 30 million registered users. On the platform, people can get access to government services concerning giving birth, school entrance, retirement, funeral and interment, starting businesses and investment, among others, with multiple departments coordinating with each other using the platform to provide more convenience.
South China's Guangdong Province also set up a service platform that can integrate nearly 60 kinds of electronic certificates including ID cards, social security cards and driver licenses.
By using the platform, residents can apply for certificates of no criminal record and obtain other services.
Since 2018, Shanghai has been upgrading its system of "grid management" and has set up a city-level center for its digitized management, 16 district-level centers, 214 township-level centers and 5,902 neighborhood-level centers.
In Shanghai's Jingan District, over 100,000 sensors have been installed for trash cans, fire exits, community gates and electric meter boxes, among other facilities, forming an Internet of Things system to gather data from the grassroots level and help make the district's governance more refined.
"Big data has made it easier for all parties to communicate with each other, offering support for the people to express their opinions and for the government to release information," said Li Zhihong, a researcher with the Chongqing Academy of Social Sciences.
By using big data, social governance can become quantitative, making it more efficient to solve problems in the public sphere, Li said.
TREND TOWARD SHARING
In China, more and more local governments including those in Beijing, Shanghai and southwest Guizhou Province have launched open platforms for administrative data sharing.
"Data sharing is premised on sophisticated urban management," said Wu Jincheng, director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology.
Based on public administrative data sharing, Zhejiang is teaming up with neighboring cities and provinces including Shanghai, Jiangxi and Anhui to enable cross-regional marriage registration, household registration for newborns and student record transfer.
The plan is workable given the IT infrastructure established by the Zhejiang provincial government, which includes a special cloud platform integrating more than 800 information systems across departments, as well as a public data platform gathering more than 20.7 billion items of categorized basic data.
"The opening of the data will unleash tremendous potential," Hu Bin, an official with the Guizhou provincial center for digital administrative affairs, told Xinhua in front of a big screen in the provincial data commanding center.
In 2019, Guizhou launched a similar cloud platform, a network integrating administrative services from the provincial level down to the village level and a data platform designed to realizing inter-regional and cross-department data use.
"IT infrastructure building in departments at various levels has been planned in a unified manner," said Li Gang, deputy chief of the Big Data Development Administration of Guizhou, noting that the practice saves cost and lowers technical barriers hindering data mobility.