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President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with entrepreneurs at the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province on Sunday. [Photo by Wu Zhiyi/China Daily]

China's central authorities issued a guideline

on Wednesday calling for improved openness in government affairs at all levels.

The document said openness in government issues is a basic feature of a government ruled by law, and openness should be the normal state. This requires the comprehensive implementation of negative list of government affairs by 2020.

It also requires provincial governments and all departments of the State Council, China's Cabinet, actively and prudently make the negative list of government affairs and make clear the range and content of information that cannot be made public.

Information that could endanger national security, economic security or social stability if made public should be included in the negative list, and the content of the list should be timely adjusted and updated as necessary. The negative list should be specific and detailed and be convenient for inspection and supervision. Any items not on the list should be disclosed to the public according to the country's laws and regulations.

A negative list of government affairs will not only draw a clear line proscribing public power, but also guarantee the public's right to know.