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Annual assessment of officials marred by GDP rankings


13:36, December 13, 2011

Year-end performance assessments for local officials have been routine practice in China since the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1736-1795). Over the centuries, the criteria used in the evaluations have naturally continued to evolve with the times. Now, some argue that the next step in improving the system should be to end the practice of ranking officials according to GDP quotas.

Over the past three decades, which have been characterized by rapid economic development, gross domestic product (GDP) has become the most important factor by which China's local officials are gauged. And as the end of 2011 approaches, leaders are again feeling anxious, wary that the results of the assessment will have a negative impact on their career prospects.

In remote areas with underdeveloped economies, the situation is particularly bad. Officials in the countryside are said to suffer from sleepless nights, as a highly pressurized system puts them under tremendous stress to reach or even exceed quotas.

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