Chinese vet boss chosen to be city's education chief sparks 'suitability' debate

Weibo bloggers say appointment of Qin Deliang, who worked as a secondary school teacher 30 years ago, highlights practice of officials being given jobs despite little or no experience.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 1:14pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 3:02pm

The controversial appointment of Harbin's veterinary boss as the city's new education chief has sparked heated social media debate among bloggers about the common practice of mismatching skills among mainland officials.

Qin Deliang, 54, was previously director of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau in the capital city of Heilongjiang province, before being stripped of his post and named director of education by the city’s Municipal People’s Congress on Monday.

His official biography on the city government’s website says he has held a number of official positions in the past, including mayor and deputy party chief of Acheng district, mayor and organisation department head of Shangzhi district, and director of a bureau dealing with retired Communist Party cadres in Hulan district.

However, the only experience in his biography that is relevant to his new role in education is that he worked as a secondary school teacher – 30 years ago.

The appointment has sparked criticism, with a number of bloggers questioning whether it is suitable to allow officials to move into a different field when they have little or no experience.

“What a big change,” one blogger on Sino Weibo wrote.

Yet other bloggers were less surprised, saying half-jokingly that the move showed the government saw the governance of animals and schoolchildren as pretty much the same thing.

“He will be capable of writing a thesis on the similarities between managing animals and children,” another blogger said.

However, an unnamed Harbin city government department officer was quoted by Southern Metropolis Daily as saying that Qin’s appointment was in line with internal procedures and had come after a selection process involving party secretaries.

The official also reportedly said: “So it was suitable when he left his position as mayor and became the head of veterinary in 2012? And it’s only a mismatch now?”

No details were given by the official about how the internal selection process was carried out.

The official was quoted as saying that the process had involved several government bodies and had followed the usual lines of procedure.