Wednesday, March 07, 2007

2007 NPC, CPPCC Journal, Day 3

A building in Yong’an, Fujian, which is accused as the result of local officials’ "image project" and involved in corruption

Public Stunned by Local Official’s view on Administrative Achievements

A local official’s comments that it is hard to define the “right” or “wrong” idea of officials’ administrative achievements left the public stunned as well as eager to educate the official on that matter.

Mr. Xu Shaohua, the Party Secretary of Zhanjiang city of Guangdong and an NPC national delegate, made the remarks on Tuesday during an online interview with, the official news website of Guangdong.

“Administrative achievement is something that every government official will pursue,” Mr. Xu said. “But if you talk about what is the right or wrong idea of administrative achievements, it is hard to be clear-cut.”

For years, local officials’ pursuit of administrative achievements disregarding the real needs of local development has been under fire, denounced by the public and some media as officials’ bid for advance in personal political career at the price of public resources. A special term, “image project,” was coined to describe such endeavors that are widely seen from rural towns to large cities around China.

The notion, administrative achievement, has therefore become so notorious that many officials start to withdraw from emphasizing it in public.

Mr. Xu’s defence for the achievement was seen by many as courageous and honest, since it should be natural for capable officials to try to make achievements during their administration. But even more people criticized, or derided him for not being able to draw a line between the right and wrong idea.

“He even can not differentiate between the right and wrong and yet he became a government official. What a joke!” One comment reads on the forum, a view that was supported by many other posters.

While Mr. Xu might seem confused about the judgment, the public does not hesitate to make it clear.

“Let me teach you [Mr. Xu],” one poster writes. “The good achievement deals with issues that the common people most care about, and the bad achievement is something that the common people oppose.”

Over 300 comments left on the forum demonstrate that it is obvious to the public that benefiting the people is the right thing to do, and it is wrong to only benefit the officials themselves, such as demolishing homes to build malls simply because a big mall makes a place look modern and pretty.

Similar conducts are now a new problem in the “building socialism new villages” campaign, pushed by the central government to boost the development of China’s vast rural area, as warned by a couple of CPPCC members the day after Mr. Xu made his remarks on pursuing administrative achievements.

They said during an online chat with that some local authorities are using the money and resources allocated for infrastructure developments to build “image projects” like villas and some decorating architectures.

Mr. Xu Shaohua’s remarks during the online interview

Warning of image project in the village development drive

Online comments on Mr. Xu’s remarks

Interesting Ideas and Proposals

Official Gambling needs more Surveillance
More surveillance should be imposed on mainland officials’ overseas bank account activities, as one measure to crack down on officials’ gambling using public money, said He Yueping, NPC delegate from Tianjin.

Ms. He identified officials’ gambling as an increasing trend in recent years. Some of these gamblers have become key customers of some foreign gambling organizations. The money involved, a large portion of which is public money, often goes through these officials’ overseas bank accounts, which also provide convenience for receiving bribes.

Outspoken Comments

Juvenile Idlers Harm Social Stability
A large number of juvenile idlers, aging between 14 and 19, mostly middle schools graduate without a job or further school plan, could cause potential social disturbances, warned Mr. Zhou Tianmin, CPPCC national committee member from Shaanxi.

These young people, Mr. Zhou said, either living with their parents or wandering around, failed to continue school or find a job but spend most of their time in Internet cafes. In Xi’an, capital city of Shaanxi, such juvenile idlers are increasing by 80,000 people every year, Legal Daily reported.

Mr. Zhou called for more to be done, such as expanding compulsory education from the current nine years to 12 years in cities, to provide education or professional training for these lost young people.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Mr. Ma Kai, minister of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said China poses no threat to world energy security as the country’s consumption and import are low, despite its fast growing economy. He also admitted that the gap between the rich and poor in China is expanding.

----by Josie Liu

1 comment:

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