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  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 1:40pm

Li Keqiang

Li Keqiang, born in 1955, became China's premier in March 2013. Like ex-president Hu Jintao, his power base lies with the Communist Youth League, where he was a member of the secretariat of the league’s central committee in the 1980s and later in the 1990s the secretariat’s first secretary. His regional governance experience includes a period as vice party boss, governor and party boss of Henan province between 1998 and 2003 and party boss of Liaoning province beginning in 2004. He became vice premier in 2008. Li graduated from Peking University with a degree in economics. 


Premier Li Keqiang gets tough with officials of failure to implement top leaders' directives

Li Keqiang's harshly worded article reflects leadership's frustration that their directives are not being implement at the grass-roots level

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 4:20am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 4:20am

Premier Li Keqiang expressed displeasure at the way local officials execute directives from the top and their inaction over the reform agenda, according to an article on the central government's official website.

The article has prompted speculation that top leaders are increasingly frustrated that their instructions are not being heard beyond the walls of the leadership compound of Zhongnanhai.

The official website ran a rare summary of the premier's talk during the State Council meeting on Friday. In the piece, titled "The State Council would never release empty documents", Li castigated local officials for not doing more to carry out directives from the top authorities.

"Many government officials hold the belief that 'doing nothing is better than doing something wrong'," Li was quoted as saying. "Such mediocre and slothful management is also a type of corruption, because it is irresponsible to the people and the country."

The article said Li made his remarks "with special emphasis" and "shook his fist".

Li said such official inaction had weakened the effect of the decisions made by the top authorities, and that the State Council would conduct comprehensive inspections of local governments and departments to make sure every policy was implemented.

"The inspections cannot simply go through the motions," Li said, adding each directive "must get through to the grass roots".

He also urged local governments to relax strict controls over administrative approvals.

While increased government efficiency has been a top item on Li's agenda since he took office more than a year ago, mainland analysts said the strong tone of the article showed the top leaders faced many obstacles to getting decisions implemented.

Li's remarks clearly showed that he and other leaders were concerned that they may not play as great a role in implementing policies as some powerful interest groups and local officials, said Hu Xingdou , an economist at the Beijing University of Technology.

"It has been a major problem for the central leadership over the past decades that their directives face such hurdles to reach the local level," said Hu. "But the interest groups are becoming more powerful and united as the leadership pushes through their reform plans, which could hurt the interests of such groups."

He said it was more challenging for the current leadership, because some lower-level officials were reluctant to work for fear of being caught in the widening anti-corruption net.

Zhu Lijia, a professor of public policy at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the gaps in the regulatory system had created problems for regional departments to reach consensus on implementing the directives of the central government.


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Should we ask a basic question first? How these incompetent local officials took up their local government offices in the first place? Did they simply buy the posts from the high ranking people?
Li should well know that a top down approach has never worked well in China (in fact does not work in any country) and in fact, can and did turn into a disaster during Mao's era. With the present situation in China, a semi-market economy with many well established interest groups, its not even practical to take this top-down approach anymore. A bottom-up approach, like using my proposed Mutual corporate model, where all the interest groups' interests are aligned including employees' and customers', is the only practical and workable solutiion in a large country like China (small country with only a few million people may work). Other models, past and present, either end up with a huge secondary distribution system, which is inefficient and wasteful and subject to corruption or a system where abject poverty and income inequality will persist and can be subject to profuse corruption. Li's concerns are real and in my opinion cannot be solved under the current model no matter how many corrupt officials they put to jail.
SCMP is one of those corrupt "interest groups" that should be and will be eradicated in due course.
Dude *****, what on earth are you talking about??
'officials of failure' …
Another grammar mistake in a headline. That's two in one day now. See article on 'hidden' bodies in Shenzhen flat.


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