Authorities from the Ministry of Personnel on Monday issued a circular urging local governments to fight the malpractice and corruption that takes place during recruitment of civil servants and promotion of officials.
To build a clean and highly efficient government, China must uproot the sources of corruption in the selection of officials by consolidating systems of personnel administration, the circular said.
The circular makes it clear that local governments at all levels are prohibited to randomly establish official agencies and institutions affiliated with them or employ staff in violation of rules set by the central government and the Communist Party of China (CPC).
All new civil servants must be recruited through open and fair examinations in accordance with the reform of the personnel system, Yin Weimin, vice-minister of personnel, said at a tele-conference held in Beijing.
The circular was jointly signed, at a conference held in Beijing and televised nationwide, by the Ministry of Personnel, the CPC's department in charge of organizational work and the general office in charge of the authorization of size of governments at all levels.
During the conference, a notice of criticism on illegal recruitment and promotion of officials in two Northwest China counties and a case of forging academic credentials by officials in Lixin County of East China's Anhui Province was circulated nationwide.
In Tongxin County in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, 357 people were illegally recruited as civil servants between 1991 and 1998 by a few local officials, the notice said.
Additionally, Zhou Wenji, the then vice-chairman of the autonomous region's People's Political Consultative Conference, illegally approved 132 people, including 15 of his relatives, as "cadres" or officials for the county's government without examination and checking by local personnel authorities.
Zhou has been dismissed from his position.
In Guanghe County in Gansu Province, 20 officials were punished for dereliction of duty when some were found to have kept paying wages for dead staff while others forged academic credentials for their relatives to get government jobs.
The circular, the strictest one ever issued in recent years, also urged local personnel authorities to follow democratic procedures in the selection and appointment of officials and to prevent various practices, such as favoritism in the appointment of personnel.
Under China's existing system, official appointments must be made known to the public to solicit opinion from the general public and the officials' underlings before the candidates come into office.
The circular reaffirmed that leading local officials will not be allowed to recruit their relatives as civil servants and then promote such people in violation of State policy, or to abuse or take advantage of their powers.
Such violations of discipline have long been rampant in a few areas, the circular conceded, adding that such violations have not only damaged the government's image but also corroded the ranks of the civil service.
Since 1995, more than 700 officials have been punished for such nepotism throughout China with over one-third of them above the level of division-chief, that is to say, in the top ranks of county officials, according to Li Tielin, an official of the CPC's department in charge of organization work.
(China Daily 08/21/2001)