Civil staff face tougher scrutiny

INCOMPETENT and ineffective officials in Binhai, a county in Jiangsu Province, can be removed from their posts at any time as long as a dozen people submit a petition and approval is granted by the authorities.  

According to a democratic system established by Binhai county last month, ordinary people, members of the Communist Party of China and grassroots officials are entitled to submit petitions to force unqualified officials to hand over their power.  

Before, unfit officials could stay in their positions through their terms of office if they had made no serious mistakes or had made no decisions that led to negative political impacts or huge economic losses.  

The new system states that 10 or more applicants – ranging from ordinary people to deputies at the county – or village-level people’s congress – have the right to hand in a petition to authorities to level allegations against incapable officials.  

Upon receiving the petitions, higher-level authorities will dispatch a team to investigate the charges before they decide whether to keep or remove the officials from their posts.  

If the charges have merit, a vote will then be taken on the fate of the unworthy official. It is required that the procedure be completed within three months.  

In China, people are voicing their strong support for the new “take-the-blame-and-resign” system among officials.  

A recent example is that of Chen Yingquan, a former petroleum chief in Sichuan Province. He was removed from his post in connection with a gas blowout that caused 233 deaths in Chongqing municipality late last year.  

Shen Naifeng, a top official of the county’s organisation department who took part in drafting the new regulation, said on Tuesday that the democratic system armed ordinary people with an effective weapon to supervise officials’ work from outside of government.  

“Unlike the ‘take-the-blame-and-resign’ system, which allows incompetent officials to step down by themselves when tragedies occur and big losses are generated, our method will strangle all accidents in the cradle,” he said. – China Daily

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