The public debate in Guangdong over how or whether to take the first step toward requiring officials publicly declare personal assets  has lasted now for a week and, judging from the online backlash arising from this  Nanfang Daily report of a meeting of Guangdong NPC  delegates held yesterday, is finally making some headway.
"Officials are civil servants," said delegate Ye Pengzhi at yesterday's meeting in Guangzhou, "not slaves to the people."
The Communist Party already has plenty of ways to monitor officials, Ye argues, so declaring assets internally should suffice rather than making them public.
Using the same reasoning others have over the past few days why details of officials' assets should be kept private, Ye says once that bridge is crossed things are likely to spin out of control, adding the issue is being used as a guise for those pushing a "populist" agenda in the name of public opinion.
"Officials need privacy in the same way that sick people get privacy in medical records when they seek treatment...Is there even a legal basis in requiring officials publicly declare their assets?," he asks.
However, in an apparent last-ditch effort to reach a compromise, Ye suggested a lottery approach - similar to the way  Beijing issues licence plates to its drivers - in which officials would be required to declare their assets publicly only if their name is drawn "randomly", and that quote of course made the perfect headline for all today's coverage of the closely-watched meeting.
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Seeing Red in China
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