By Robert F. Sanchez, JMI Policy Director
China has an authoritarian government that’s not exactly a model of transparency or accountability. Don’t believe it? Just ask Google, the search engine giant that has retreated from the mainland because of interference with the free flow of information.Despite this climate of oppression, however, a couple of jurisdictions in China have ventured into an area that many Florida cities unfortunately have been resisting. They are reporting to their constituents on how their money is being spent.In China they’re calling it “naked government.” And if certain provincial and municipal governments in “Red China” can begin disclosing their spending habits, why not the governments represented by the Florida League of Cities, which has been torpedoing legislation designed to mandate such transparency?Granted, if the phrase “naked government” conjures up an image of some of our portly elected officials in a state of undress, it could set back the whole notion of open government for a generation or more. So maybe we’d better stick to balmier terms such as “government in the sunshine.”By the way, in the blog linked below, you’ll notice that when the small southern Chinese town of Baimiao released its budget, “65 percent of local government spending had gone to accommodating and entertaining officials.”That’s even worse than the record of some of Florida’s travel-happy and entertainment-addicted city and county officials, whose “sister city” junkets and “economic development” trips to exotic locales add up.Want to read more about the China story? Click on this link to the New York Times blog about the recent developments in China.