Car change brings officials closer to people

Updated: 2013-06-21 07:38

By Zhu Yuan (China Daily)

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Yet, an even better example is the Party secretary of Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong province, whose official vehicle is a China-made electric car. He is the only one of the city leaders who rides in such a green vehicle. By riding in such a low-carbon vehicle, he sets a good example for the city, where most taxis are electric cars. His use of an electric vehicle shows his awareness of the need to protect the environment.

People are concerned about what cars officials use and how much money is spent every year maintaining them, as they gauge how good a job an official will do in handling public affairs on their behalf by the kind of car they ride in.

They have no way of knowing how an official works, but by observing how they talk and what kind of car they ride in, they can guess how effectively the official will work in the interest of the general public. They can hardly expect an official who is supposed to be a civil servant but seeks comfort and luxury at the public expense to do a good job in the interests of the people.

The abuse of power and seeking luxury and comfort at the public expense by government and Party officials are acts that estrange the general public from the ruling Party.

That explains why Party leader Xi Jinping stressed in a speech on Tuesday that the unhealthy tendency toward formalism, bureaucracy and seeking comfort and luxury must be addressed. He said whether the Party can win support of the people is key to its destiny.

The change of official vehicles from foreign brands to a domestic one for minister-level officials may be just the beginning of a campaign to overhaul that unhealthy tendency within the Party and the government. Hopefully, the campaign will function as a wake-up call for officials to behave better and show more concern for the interests of the people.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily. E-mail:

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