Poorly behaved officials subject to recall

Updated: 2015-04-17 07:15

By Zhang Yi(China Daily)

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More than 1,600 officials in Guizhou province have been recalled for malfeasance - most of them temporarily - setting a precedent for the management of government officials across the country.

The recall mechanism, mainly designed to root out incompetence, rolled out late last year in Guizhou's Qianxinan autonomous prefecture. It was the first of its kind and was designated a key pilot project by the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the CPC.

Personnel authorities in the prefecture listed 30 performance standards, the violation of which can result in a recall. The standards set forth the dos and don'ts for officials' daily work, including a prohibition on video games, watching entertainment shows online and trading stocks during working hours.

Huang Weichao, deputy head of the organization department of the Party committee in the prefecture's Guiding county, said the recall mechanism is based on the same idea as the recall system used for consumer commodities.

"If a commodity has flaws it should be recalled from the market. It's the same with officials. When the department decides officials are not competent, they should be recalled," Huang said.

According to Tan Yunlin, a top legislator of Xingren county, "Incompetence is mainly what malfeasance refers to and is determined by work performance under the standards."

He said officials are graded based on the standards, and an official who gets the lowest score is likely to be included on the recall list.

When 30 percent of people who apply for a government service complain that an official demanded some form of bribe, or when 50 percent of those who asked for some government action - for example, a utility repair - complain that officials fail to respond, those officials can be put on the recall list, Tan said.

Of the 289 county officials recalled since September, 262 returned to their positions after completing a training and education program. Six were sacked, one was removed from the position, 17 were transferred, two are still being evaluated, and one is waiting for a new job assignment, Tan said.

Chen Wei, an official in the anti-corruption department of Pu'an county, was recalled for drinking alcohol at lunch on a working day in September - an activity that is also prohibited by Party discipline.

Recalled officials are asked to complete a training and education program ranging from three to seven days. They must pay for their own accommodations and meals at an average cost of around 100 yuan ($16) per day.

Following Guizhou's example, Luo Pu county in the Xinjiang autonomous region began to recall incompetent officials in January. Thirty-nine officials have been recalled there, mainly for malfeasance, and have attended a training program.

The Party's top organization department is considering the possibility of including the official recall mechanism in a nationwide personnel management system.