THE Beijing city government has not quite resorted to placing help wanted ads in the Beijing Evening News but if it continues to hemorrhage senior staff at the rate it has been over the last year, it might have to. Since April, the government has lost not only its party chief and two vice-mayors to political and natural causes, but mid-ranking officials have also been leaving in significant numbers. Most are leaving for the private sector, but some, disaffected and disillusioned with the Beijing party in the wake of the Wang Baosen incident, have simply taken early retirement. 'Morale is at an all time low,' one former official said. 'No one wants to work for the government anymore. Just about all of my colleagues are looking for a way out, but it is not easy just to pack-up and leave.' He said that the leaders were presently fighting a rear guard action, 'trying to get competent people to stay and recruit new people in order to make up for those who have already left'. Now that all surviving city government leaders have been given a clean bill of political health by President Jiang Zemin, emphasis has been placed on rebuilding the Beijing party and municipal government. A major recruitment drive by the Beijing government is underway which is searching for people from central and regional governments and from the industrial and financial sectors. The government is looking for younger, better educated officials with specialities in economics or management to replace older and more politically conservative officials who ran the show under Chen Xitong. Typical of the new breed the government is trying to recruit is the new vice-mayor, Jin Renqing, officially confirmed in his new role by a meeting of the Municipal People's Congress standing committee last week. A former vice-minister of finance and deputy secretary general of the State Council, Mr Jin, 51, is widely acknowledged for his expertise in financial management and his progressive outlook on economic policy. In his welcoming address, Mayor Li Qiyan described Mr Jin as an 'enterprising' financial expert with grass roots experience. Mr Jin is expected to take over the city government's financial and economic policy portfolio. It is doubtful, however, the government can recruit many more officials of Mr Jin's calibre. Despite the best efforts of the municipal and central government to put the past behind it and start again, the city government is still under a political cloud. Government sources say many who have been approached to join the ranks of city officials have vacillated, unsure whether the government can actually resurrect itself from the ashes of political disgrace. 'I think a lot of people still have doubts about the political situation in Beijing, and that is understandable,' one source said. 'We probably need more time before the situation becomes clearer.' Apart from the uncertain political situation, there is also the problem of poor pay and conditions. Nearly everyone agrees it will take more than Jiang Zemin's morale boosting tours of Beijing for the city to get back on its feet.