Chinese government denies ‘exodus’ of civil servants

By on 26/04/2015
The report has been produced by the World Bank and the World Health Organization, as well as China’s Ministry of Finance, National Health and Family Planning Commission, and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Protection

A Chinese official publicly denied rumours of an exodus of bureaucrats from the civil service, following reports of widespread discontent over poor working conditions and an anti-corruption drive, it has been reported today.

Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security spokesman Li Zhong told reporters on Friday that some resignations were to be expected but nothing unusual had been detected.

The comment came after a report by the local employment website Zhaopin found that more than 10,000 Chinese civil servants are looking to quit their jobs, as new sign-ups from government employees have spiked since the Lunar New Year in late February. Registrations for the annual civil service exam have also fallen in many provinces, while about one in three people who signed up last year eventually skipped the test.

But Li said at a news conference: “Judging from statistical figures and our surveys at some central governmental agencies, there is no noticeable surge in the number of civil servants leaving their posts.”

The China Post reports that such comments from government spokesmen are extremely rare and appear to show the authorities are seriously concerned about falling morale among civil servants.

Meanwhile, news magazine the Diplomant warns in an article published today that the Chinese government’s anti-corruption drive risks policy paralysis.

It says that for more than 11m government officials in China, the campaign means reduced opportunities to access ‘grey income’, i.e., bribes, which accounts for 12% of China’s GDP.

As fighting corruption becomes a top priority in China, it reports, other important agenda items such as tackling the environmental crisis and deepening healthcare reform might end up on the back burner.

And lower-level government officials, being wary about their personal security in the campaign, would officially bandwagon with Xi, or at least pay lip service to his preferred policy agenda. But, the article adds, in reality, they would balk at making any moves that would be interpreted by their colleagues as ambitious attempts to seek personal advantages or threaten the latter’s vested interests.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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