CPC breaks 'glass ceiling' for village officials

07:42, June 10, 2011      

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After going through a fierce selection process, conducted through written texts and interviews that took nearly half a year to complete, Xiao Jing, 33, has finally made his way from being a village Party head to becoming a senior township official.

His promotion is significant. Breaking the "glass ceiling" for village officials marks a breakthrough for the Communist Party of China (CPC) in how it governs at lower levels.

As the "terminal nerve" of the CPC's governance system, officials of China's 600,000-plus administrative villages are sometimes called the "foundation of the grassroots level."

Rural villages in China enjoy a great deal of autonomy. Villagers' committees, or the bodies that govern affairs of the rural villages, are formed in democratic elections and manage village affairs on a democratic basis.

Despite the fact that village officials win their posts in democratic elections, their career prospects have long been undermined by a lack of upward mobility. Many of them end up working at the same post for their entire career.

The CPC attaches great importance to devising new methods to select officials at rural levels as the Party ascended to power in the first place by winning over the hearts and minds of farmers across the nation before moving on to conquer the cities, decades ago.

The Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee has issued a series of policies to grant promotions to officials in rural areas who have proven their worth.

Accordingly, a large number of outstanding officials from rural areas are now being considered for promotions.

"I was surprised and thrilled to see the open selection notice. After being a village official for 14 years, I am confident of my abilities," said Xiao Jing, who has worked as the secretary of the law enforcement committee for Liulong Township for over four months. Liulong is administered by Dafang County, southwest China's Guizhou Province.

He said that his daily job is to mediate and solve disputes, and that his rich experience at the village level has been helpful in well preparing him for his current post.

Xiao was elected head of the Taihe Villagers' Committee at the age of 18, when he graduated from high school. He later became the Party secretary of the village of Taihe, which is administered by another township known as Wenge, also in Dafang County.

He won the respect and trust of his fellow villagers over the years through his efforts to improve the community. He helped to build the first road to link the village with the rest of China, and also raised incomes for residents there by encouraging them to focus their labors on animal husbandry.

Huang Jiazhong, an official with the organization department of Guizhou's Bijie Prefectural Committee of the CPC, said Bijie, an ecologically vulnerable region, is trying to attract new village officials by promoting its current village officials to the posts of township officials.

According to Huang, working as a village official is difficult because the salary is low and promotion opportunities are few and far between.

This problem is further complicated by the fact that many of China's rural areas are still underdeveloped. These areas are striving to improve local economy and increase living standards.

Wei Wei, vice Party secretary of Liulong Township, said that senior township official positions were previously reserved only for township or county officials, not village officials.

Although township and county officials are more educated in comparison to those from villages, the village officials have a better understanding of rural affairs, Wei added.

Yang Huachang, head of the organization department of the Bijie Prefectural Committee of the CPC, said that improving prospects for village officials would not only strengthen the foundation of the government, but also bring more young, knowledgeable and competent officials to village posts.

Source: Xinhua
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