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Home >> China
UPDATED: 10:00, December 19, 2004
China more intolerant of incompetent officeholders
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China is growing increasingly intolerant of mediocrity of its public servants though corruption charges remain the major reason why Chinese officials are dismissed.

Since February, 2,390 officials in east China's Zhejiang Province were chastised, warned or added to a misbehavior file, and were 94 suspended or removed from their government jobs for offenses such as chatting online, trading personal stocks and playing computer games during office time as well as unjustified delays in and neglect of works.

Chinese officials used to be secure in their jobs for life as long as they weren't caught breaking the law. That is no longer true.

Xie Aiming, Head of Shaodong County in south China's Hunan Province, had his name added to the official misconduct file on Nov. 12 for "failing to handle a situation satisfactorily" when his subordinates refused to pay tolls and beat toll-collectors and policemen in his presence in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Xie's anecdote attracted wide attention in China and triggered off the general public's support for a national campaign aimed at enhancing the quality of officeholders.

"Fighting against corruption is not enough for governments to gain the recognition of the people," said Chen Guoquan, a professor at the School of Public Administration of the Hangzhou-based Zhejiang University. "Measures should also be taken to prevent various forms of power abuse and administrative mediocrity."

In order to better supervise government works, a hotline and an email account were launched earlier this year by the Zhejiang Provincial Government, inviting complaints about the misbehavior of government officials.

Meanwhile, some 20,000 deputies to the People's Congress and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at various levels as well as members of noncommunist parties were invited to become "social supervisors," obligated to report government workers' failure in fulfilling their duties.

Media were also expected to play greater roles in watching out for administrative wrongs, said Xi Jinping, Secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

"Government officials should be better informed of their duties and stricter control be exerted over administrative power of the government," said Lian Xiaoming, vice chairman of Zhejiang Provincial Federation of Social Sciences, stressing China is now becoming increasingly polarized and government workers should be more skillful in handling the increasingly complex social situations.

Five months ago, the Government of Wanyuan City in southwest China's Sichuan Province forced local enterprises and institutions to buy tickets to a government-sponsored concert at a total of 700,000 yuan (84,650 US dollars).

Lin Lang, Secretary of the CPC Committee of Wanyuan City, recently received a serious warning, one of the CPC penalties on underperformed party members, from the Sichuan Provincial Government for the coerced purchase. An official paper from the Provincial Government criticized "wrong administrative concepts" of the Wanyuan City Government for making a decision evoking extensive dissatisfaction among the affected parties.

In September, a central CPC conference launched a decision on enhancing the Party's ruling capacity and urged governments at all levels to make decisions "scientifically, democratically and lawfully."

"The Party should better serve the people. It's a principle that the CPC must follow and always stick to," said Li Zhongjie, vice director of the Party History Study Office of the CPC Central Committee.

Source: Xinhua

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