Official suicides reveal China's bureaucracy changing

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, March 22, 2010
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Professor Gao Xinmin, of the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC, suggests that education in mental health should be added to official training courses and that the regular civil servant exam should include a psychological assessment together with physical examinations.

Gao says third-party mental health service providers should be employed for officials so as to ease their sensitivity and resistance to psychological care.

Trials are underway.

In Cixi, Zhejiang Province, the municipal government has joined with the psychology research institute of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, based in Hangzhou, to launch an EAP (employee assistance program) for officials, which is common international practice for corporate employees and their immediate families.

The first EAP training project has been implemented for 50 officials in the city to cultivate team work, develop creativity, build emotional control and find ways to solve difficulties.

Most of the trainees said they believed support from their colleagues could play a significant role in surmounting difficulties.

Dr. Luo Hong, who heads the EAP project for officials in Cixi, says it will help officials find satisfaction in their daily work.

Prof. Lin Zhe, with the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC, says different posts demand different personalities from officials.

Huzhou city, Zhejiang, has used psychological assessments in official selections since 2008 to find if an official is psychologically eligible and adaptable to a certain post. Transfers are allowed within six months after an official is selected.

But for those officials who contemplate suicide for fear of punishment, there is no easy remedy.

"This unusual high number of suicides should serve as a serious warning to other officials to be honest and clean," Prof. Lin says.


Of the official suicide cases since the beginning of 2009, most of the local governments concerned were reluctant to disclose information about investigation results. This triggered speculation about possible corruption and chains of corrupt officials.

Sources close to the inspections say some of the cases are related to corruption but others are not.

Dr. Lin Zhe suggests that a transparent, timely and authoritative information disclosure system should be established for investigation results.

However, the information disclosure should protect the privacy of innocent family members and relatives of the victims, Lin adds.

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