Chinese Media Digest - Tuesday, December 25 Published: 2012-12-25 18:54:08

Keywords: More revealing profiles, photos of new CPC leadership released, City leaders sweat tough questions on live TV

More revealing profiles, photos of new CPC leadership released

Two more revealing profiles of top leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) were published by the Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday, a first in Chinese media history.

The profiles of Zhang Dejiang and Yu Zhengsheng, both members of the Standing Committee of the 18th CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, follow Xinhua's "Top CPC Leadership" online coverage of the Party's top leaders Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang on Sunday.

The profiles also featured photos of the leaders early in their careers, something that Chinese media lauded as a sign of the new leadership's political transparency.

Global Times ran an editorial Tuesday lauding the profiles as a milestone in the transition to more public-oriented politics in China.

"China's politics generally tries to keep a low-profile … but this tendency should not conflict with the public's right to know," said the article, adding that progress is being made in the degree of openness of China's politics.

"This is a risky process, but it will be more risky if it stops."

"The public hopes for 'political insurance' from its country. If such insurance exists, the confidence of society is at its core. China faces both internal problems and external pressures, but as long as society is confident and works on concrete issues, China's revival can be ensured," opined the editorial.

Similarly, the Guangdong-based news portal published an opinion piece by Lang Yaoyuan, an independent media commentator, that the public has been rather satisfied with Xi and Li's new policies since the Party's leadership transition in November, and their expectations continue to rise

However, this creates a possibility that Chinese may be even more disappointed if their expectations aren't met.

Lang suggested that policymakers take advantage of the current public approval rating and "move to break through what were previously considered 'forbidden' and 'dangerous' areas of reform to advance 'democracy' and 'rule of law.'" At the same time, Lang suggested that the public not expect too much from the new leaders' policies right off the bat.

"Only by ensuring citizens' all-around rights by way of 'democratic rule of law' can China be powerful enough to revive itself," said Lang.

The behavior of a nation's leaders is often read as containing political signals in the eyes of the public, held the Hunan-based Sanxiang Metropolis Daily.

"People are often interested in a nation's top leaders, including their background and possible policies, which is rarely revealed to the public in China," said the opinion piece.

"The mystique surrounding leadership breeds uncertainty among the public," continued the article.

The public relations campaign, which highlights past works such as Xi helping a sick farm worker receive treatment in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, during his days on the Fujian Provincial Party Committee, could be seen as a way to help the new leadership win more grassroots support, said the paper.

City leaders sweat tough questions on live TV

A group of southern Chinese city officials apologized publically and promised to improve their work after a panel of experts and members of a selected audience evaluated their job performance on live television this week.

Officials from 27 departments in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province sweated, squirmed and apologized when challenged by a guest panel about their track records on such long-standing unsolved social issues as food safety, over two days of live broadcasts beginning Thursday.

Similarly, 29 officials from Wuhan, Hubei Province were also embarrassed on live TV last week after being questioned about whether they had kept promises made to address pressing social issues.

Chinese media applauded the TV programs, adding that such public scrutiny could motivate officials to better serve the people.

People's Daily ran an opinion piece on Tuesday expressing worry over whether this kind of programming could really help solve problems, or would just force officials to learn how to better dodge direct questions from the public.

The article also cast doubt on whether officials should keep promises made on TV and asked why officials should necessarily participate in such TV programs to solve issues.

"This media scrum should not develop into a political show," said the article, adding that officials shouldn't talk about reforms on TV to avoid public disappointment over promises they ultimately can't fulfill.

On the other hand, including the public on evaluating whether officials should continue to serve may press them to "do more work instead of simply talk big."

Xinhua commented on Tuesday that officials could choose to either "sweat off TV or on TV."

"If they would be more responsive to public need, they wouldn't sweat so much when facing questions and criticism from the public," the commentary said.

The Shanghai Morning Post called the programming an "open-minded and enlightened move to ensure the transparency of public power."

The article suggested these TV directors should release information to the public about the work officials are required to do and their political achievements before they appear on TV. This way, the public could be better informed before offering their opinions.

The program should also be scheduled in a way to give audiences enough time beforehand to prepare questions for officials, the article suggested, adding that they should figure out as well how audience opinion be factored in to officials' yearly performance reviews.

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