Nepotism rife in fast govt promotions

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2013-5-13 23:48:01

Young government officials across the country have been repeatedly exposed in the past year as having secured fast promotion through nepotism, invoking widespread debate over the government official selection system and a public outcry for more transparency.

In Hunan Province, the 27-year-old deputy county chief of Xiangtan, Xu Tao, was sacked on May 7 after Web users revealed that he had been officially recruited by the county government while he was still at graduate school. He was then "unusually" promoted twice in two years to a rank above his experience.

Xu's parents both serve as mid-level officials in Hunan.

Han Han, the 25-year-old female head of Jishu township, Jinxiang county in Shandong Province, resigned on April 21, a few days after her father, Han Yadong, was removed from his post as the deputy director of the organization department of the CPC Jining City Committee.

Earlier reports online revealed the woman's promotion was largely thanks to her father's connections.

Public outrage in Guangdong Province was triggered following the media exposé that Jiang Zhongyong, the 28-year-old deputy chief of Jiedong county, "inherited" his retired father's position. Jiang was demoted in May.

The Shijiazhuang-based Yanzhao Metropolis Daily reported on Monday that over the past year, 18 young officials were found to have "jumped the queue" in their political careers, a majority of whom had family connections in the government system.

Of the 18 officials, five had been sacked, one is under investigation, and the remaining 12 are still employed as government officials. 

Despite the long-term central government policy that advocates more attention should be given to young officials who excel at their job, many feel that this has been manipulated as an excuse to cover up the act of nepotism-incurred promotion.

Zhu Lijia, professor of public administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times that people over a certain age, depending on the position, are already ruled out from becoming a government employee, so promotion of the young rather than the capable is quite unnecessary.

"Being promoted as an exception hurts morale in the candidate pool for promotion and casts a negative effect on the selection system and government efficiency," Zhu noted. 

A recent study from Tsinghua University on college graduates in 11 provinces in China shows that the children from official families tend to work for the finance industry, State-owned enterprises and government, and have a starting salary 15 percent higher than those from a common background, the Beijing Times reported Monday.

"When the children of officials began rent-seeking through power from their parents, and obtaining career advancement through nepotism, it will severely damage the efficiency, the equity and the mobility of our society," said Li Hongbin, an economics professor from Tsinghua University.

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