Shanxi officials made public the cellphone numbers of their 260 senior disciplinary officials in a bid to revitalise an anti-corruption campaign ahead of a massive political reshuffle, but more than half of the numbers did not work.
With the terms of some officials at municipal level, deputies of the people's congress and political advisers as well as all related positions at county and township level on the mainland ending this year, the provincial party committee and the Communist Party's disciplinary commission came up with 12 new measures, including making public the mobile phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the key disciplinary heads, Xinhua said.
Provincial-level media outlets publicised the numbers and addresses, it reported, and the campaign was a pioneering scheme not only for Shanxi, but also nationwide.
However, the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily found that up to 145 of the officials, 56 per cent of the total, could not be reached for various reasons, including phones out of service, turned off and wrong numbers.
Many of the 115 officials who did answer calls claimed their numbers were in service 24 hours a day, and some of them allowed deputies and aides to pick up the calls.
'It's not realistic to require our party secretary to answer public hotlines,' a secretary of Zhang Xiaobiao , chief of the disciplinary commission in Luliang , who listens to and takes his boss' calls, told the newspaper.
Jincheng disciplinary commission chief Yu Roujie also wanted his personal aides to answer the hotline for him because he 'couldn't go to sleep after receiving complaint calls', according to one of his secretaries.
Some officials taking the calls themselves complained they had received a lot of commercial and harassing calls since the campaign started, but they were 'well-prepared to deal with it', the newspaper said.
'[The measure of] making public officials' cellphone numbers and e-mail addresses public is not purely a political show... but targets all illegal operations ahead of the coming reshuffle,' the daily quoted an unidentified official from the city government personnel office in Taiyuan , Shanxi's capital, as saying.
'On the other hand, it would help the provincial government resolve grass-roots conflicts while we keep up with all the dynamics through new communication channels.'
Cellphone numbers of 260 top officials were made public but the percentage who could not be reached was: 56%