A Chinese newspaper article has urged efforts to strike a balance between privacy protection and the public's right to know in establishing the country's real-estate registration system.
"There need to be restrictions on requests for information to protect citizens' privacy. However, any approach that sets excessively strict terms and denies supervision attempts should be avoided," said an article published in the Sunday edition of the Beijing Youth Daily under the byline of the newspaper's commentator Pan Hongqi.
An official announced on Saturday that China will set up a bureau for real estate registration to facilitate property management reform.
Authorities will also form an unified real-estate registration platform and improve information management and inquiry services related to real estate, according to the official.
The newspaper article said real estate generally constitutes the bulk of Chinese citizens' private assets while a unified system will enable information to be obtained about one's assets.
While strict regulation governing information requests may well protect citizens' privacy, it should be possible to ease certain restrictions to facilitate authorities' supervision and the public's right to know when it comes to officials' assets that may involve important public interests, the article said.
The unified registration system will also help with the reporting of officials' personal information, it went on.
The Chinese public has been shocked by cases exposed by whistleblowers about owners of multiple properties such as "Sister House" Gong Ai'ai and "Uncle House" Cai Bin.
Last year, Cai, a former senior police officer, was sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison for bribe-taking after an online post claimed that he has more than 20 houses.
Gong was also sentenced to three years in prison for forging IDs and residency records to purchase houses.