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Top leaders work their way from grass roots

By Wang Shaoguang (Global Times)

08:27, September 06, 2011

Many people, even some Chinese government officials, think that the government promotion mechanism, which select the most capable of them for higher posts, is not transparent. They don’t believe the process is clean, otherwise, why doesn’t the government promote them?

But the truth is, government promotions in China are very competitive, especially for leadership positions.

Senior officials of the Chinese Communist Party of China must prove their abilities on each level before they can reach the top. Therefore, the mechanism is completely different than that in an electoral system, which over-emphasizes candidates’ ability to give speeches and make promises, and their personal charisma. Their abilities at governing, however, are not tested in real practice.

In China, the promotion mechanisms not only send the most capable persons to take charge of important government positions, but also ensure that the positions are continually held by those who have the experience of governing.

Only through this sophisticated process can a Party secretary of a province be selected into the State Council, then move into the central government, and eventually become a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.

This also means the person has to be the best of the best.

But this stressful competition can only be felt by those who are working as the head of a town, a city or a province.

These officials would often be appointed by the government to work in an environment they are unfamiliar with, which means they would have to double their effort in order to win the support of their staff.

The promotion mechanism in the Chinese government also involves strict selection and performance appraisal. Officials need to participate in on-the-job training, receiving further education in party schools until they are considered as candidates for promotion.

This training involves class lecture and field trip and focused research. Only the most highly qualified candidates will be put onto the ladder for promotion.

This process is carefully designed and has democratic and efficient elements. Intra-party elections are involved in this process as well, and have multiple rounds. The entire selection process is deeper than a typical electoral system.

The promotion of senior government officials and leaders in China focuses on the practical experience of the candidate. Since such experience can only be accumulated gradually and by doing different types of work, the promotion process has to be done step by step.

In the Western countries, a candidate can become a national representative and rise to a top leadership position in a relatively short time.

But that process would not work in China, which greatly stresses hands-on experience of officials.

In a vast country, people will not have the confidence in the top officials if they haven’t demonstrated experience in governance.

In fact, what has been happening in the US has already shown us the President of that country can change nothing apart from making promises.

Although US President Barack Obama won the heart of the Americans during the 2008 election by the slogan of “Yes, we can,” his lack of experience in governing and leadership turned the promises into a blank cheque.

“Paratrooper” probably is a good word to describe them, since their ascendancy to the top positions is quite similar to the way paratroopers join a battlefield.

But of course China cannot have a “paratrooper” as its leader, or the country will be in big trouble.


Leave your comment1 comments

  1. Name

helen at 2011-09-06141.0.8.*
All prospective leaders must be vetted thoroughly. They must be dedicated and clean with no skeletons in the cupboard.CCDI must screen every potential leader to avoid appointing corrupt leaders to their posts. Every candidate must have a certificate from CCDI and this must be updated ever so often (annually) to prevent any slide to corruption and abuse of powers!

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