Officials chided for surfing on the net at work hours

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, December 10, 2009
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As many as 40 government officials in Zhejiang province have been reprimanded for wasting work hours surfing the Internet in the past three days, the local discipline agency said yesterday.

"We've decided to cut the bonuses of these officials," said Chen Pushun, director of the working efficiency supervision office in the Wenzhou discipline supervision bureau.

The bureau ran a spot check on officials from 39 local departments and was forced to block online games as well as using stock analysis and trading systems, Chen said.

Inspectors caught an official of the local meteorological bureau playing a farming game on, known as the "Chinese Facebook", during work hours, and another one from the local inspection and quarantine department watching Dwelling Narrowness, a popular TV series.

"It is now quite clear why work had taken a backseat in government departments," Chen said. "A significant number of officials are addicted to surfing the Internet."

Wenzhou is not the first city to ban casual Internet surfing at work places. Late last month, 19 government officers in Huaihua, Hunan province, were punished for playing online games at work.

Xia Xueluan, a professor of sociology at Peking University, said it was high time someone kept a close watch on government officials.

"Most would think officials would be reading the newspapers while drinking a cup of tea, all day long. At least now we know, they're busy surfing," Xia said.

The culture of playing online games during office hours garnered negative spotlight after a 5-month-old boy died at the Nanjing Children's Hospital while the doctor was playing a game on his computer.

More than 500 companies have joined a recently formed "Anti-loser Union", which aims to curb employees from over-indulging in chatting and social networking online.

All union members have blocked social networking websites over fears that their employees are spending more time socializing online than working.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), there are more than 1,000 social networking sites in the country.

About 124 million people, one-third of Chinese Internet users, are expected to be attracted to these social networks, information portal reported last month.

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