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County officials spend little time with locals

(China Daily)

08:53, October 20, 2011

BEIJING - County-level officials spend more time on indoor paperwork than field investigations, as well as more time with peers and superiors than with subordinates and the common people, according to a survey by the country's top social think tank.

The nationwide survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences shows these officials spend only 5 percent of their time visiting locals and listening to petitioners.

About 70 to 80 percent of China's population lives in county-level communities, which puts county heads and administrators in a very important position to make decisions and carry out social management work, according to Zhu Lijia, a professor of political studies with the Chinese Academy of Governance.

The working style and personality of the county-level officials are the "very major reason" why many people feel, to some extent, the "sense of distance" to the Party and government and the "sense of alienation" to Party and government leaders, said the survey published on Monday.

The survey sampled the daily lives of 162 officials in 12 counties of China's eight provinces in the northeast, southeast, central and the west.

Among the officials, top Party and government leaders account for 14.8 percent. Most of the remaining people are county-level officials who also serve as members of the county's standing committee of the Communist Party of China.

Each week, officials spent an average of 9.79 hours on indoor research, 8.88 hours for business trips, 8.42 hours for meetings, 6.38 hours for outdoor surveys, 5.25 hours reading documents and 4.27 hours accompanying higher-level officials.

They accompany superiors on surveys four times a week.

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