Lottery transparency needed

Updated: 2014-10-09 08:00

(China Daily)

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Under China's national lottery regulations, all lottery winners are entitled to keep private their personal information and how they spend their winnings. This privacy protection might be too much as it ignores the public's right to know and supervise as lottery prizes are public funds, says an article on Beijing News. Excerpts:

An anonymous person in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, who won 520 million yuan ($85 million) on the lottery, has been confronted with the questioning of some netizens, who find the integrity of the lottery industry unconvincing as no details of this winner or prize use are unveiled.

According to China's lottery regulations, the personal details of all winners are kept strictly confidential, despite the lottery issuance being fully accessible to public supervision. This creates a paradox, as proper supervision cannot be conducted without the personal information of the winners.

However, in the Western world where privacy is soundly protected, personal information including the names and photos of most lottery winners are available on the Internet. The reason is that the lottery industry is monopolized by the government as a means of collecting public money, some of which is assigned to lucky individuals as lottery prizes.

Unquestionably then, the general public has the right to know where their money goes.

In other words, privacy has to give way to the openness of public asset management when it comes to lottery wins. In the United States, the lottery winners are required to reveal their personal details after winning a reward. Even though some of them try to conceal that information by establishing a company to collect their prize, the flow of money is surely open for supervision.

China's lottery regulation, therefore, should stick to its administrative nature and fulfill the public's right to know as much as it can.