Promotion of disgraced cadres hit by new rules

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 April, 2010, 12:00am

To break the 'sacked-then-back' culture among cadres - which has made a mockery of the mainland's official accountability system - the Communist Party leadership has introduced provisions that could bar disgraced officials from promotion for up to two years.

According to newly issued guidelines posted early yesterday on People.com.cn, the official website of party mouthpiece the People's Daily, officials who are dismissed or resign for making mistakes will not be allowed to be given posts at the same level for a year.

Those who are demoted will be barred from promotion for two years and those transferred to other positions will not be eligible for promotion for a year.

The new guidelines are regarded by some observers as a response to years of public criticism of the mainland's official accountability system.

The latest outcry over sacked-then-back officials was triggered early this year when state media revealed that Meng Xuenong, a former Beijing mayor and Shanxi governor who has been sacked twice since 2003, had been appointed to a third senior position, as deputy secretary of the Work Committee of the Departments under the Communist Party's Central Committee.

Another well-known example of a disgraced senior official quickly resuming power is Li Changjiang , the former head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Li had to resign over the melamine-tainted milk scandal in 2008 but was appointed deputy chairman of a working group leading a crackdown online pornography in December last year.

Mao Shoulong, a professor of public administration at Beijing's Renmin University, said it was obvious that the new regulations were designed to soften public anger over the lack of transparency in the mainland's official accountability system. He said that disgraced officials were previously eligible for promotion in just one year.

'The complaints about such [sacked-then-back] cases have been increasing in recent years so the [party] central committee had to give a clear response,' he said.

Mao said the new regulations represented a small step in the right direction but could not solve the core problem because they did not address the procedures to be used when giving disgraced officials new positions or what criteria would be used to judge their suitability.

'If the government does not provide the public with such explanations and make the procedure more transparent, people will still question the appointment,' he said.

Mo Zhixu, a Beijing-based political analyst and columnist, said he did not think Beijing's move was forced by public pressure and the new regulations would not affect senior officials like Meng and Li.

He said the central government was probably just trying to tighten its control over grass-roosts officials, where the official appointment and removal system was even worse.

'But I really doubt that Beijing can monitor the lower-level administrations,' he said.

Mainland media reported last month that corrupt party secretaries from two villages - in Shenzhen, Guangdong, and Danzhou , Hainan - had resumed their posts after being released from detention.