As the Communist Party of China (CPC) steps up reform of its personnel and cadre system an increasing number of non-Communist officials have taken up decision-making positions.
In a recent open selection of 16 department-level officials the Beijing municipal government earmarked 10 posts for non-Communist candidates. The positions included deputy heads of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau and Tourism Bureau.
Yan Zhimin, a political science professor at Peking University, said the moves aimed to broaden the scope of attracting talented people. "It's an indication that the CPC values its co-operation with non-Communist parties and the role of people without any party affiliations," he said
"Many of those talents have excellent political and management capacity," he added. "They are a treasure of the society."
Last month the Shanghai municipal government announced that non-Communist officials could be appointed to top positions and not just deputy or assistant posts in local government departments as long as they met the requirements.
In South China's Guangdong Province non-Communist officials account for about half of more than 6,000 administrative staff in local institutions, colleges and universities.
"The participation of non-Communist talents in political life will help stabilize and speed up the country's social and economic development," said Li Zhenghua, director of the No 1 Research Team of the Institute of Contemporary China Studies.
About 176,000 non-Communists are currently deputies to the People's Congress at various levels, according to statistics from the State Council Information Office. Among them seven rank as high as vice-presidents of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, and 50 are members of the NPC Standing Committee.
Another 503 non-Communist people have provincial-level positions in local governments while 2,436 are municipal-level officials.
By the end of 2004 more than 32,000 non-Communist officials had been appointed as deputy chiefs or assistants of government departments at or above county-level in China.
(China Daily December 13, 2006)