Tue, December 29, 2009
China > Mainland > The top 10 everything of 2009

Top 10 no-nos for civil servants

2009-12-29 03:37:28 GMT2009-12-29 11:37:28 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

Editor's Note: Take it for gospel, or just laugh it away. It's up to you, public servants. Chinese Internet surfers have compiled a handbook of "10 Commandments" for Chinese civil servants in an attempt to give well-meant advice to those serving the people.

The 10 Commandments all have corresponding Party disciplines and laws. Unfortunately, some of these have been neglected or ignored. As a result, many officials became the focal point of public criticism and some were even demoted.

"Better abide by it, and survive."

- Those who are being served.

[The Top 10 Everything of 2009]

Commandment 1: Don't talk nonsense

Commandment 2: Don't smoke expensive cigarettes

Commandment 3: Don't wear a luxury watch

Commandment 4: Don't drive a luxury car

Commandment 5: Don't let others hold an umbrella for you

Commandment 6: Don't gawk at hot babes

Commandment 7: Don't arrest Internet whistle-blowers

Commandment 8: Don't grin amid suffering

Commandment 9: Don't use your title just to attract attention

Commandment 10: Don't post a paper on the Internet

Commandment 1: Don't talk nonsense.

When it applies: while being interviewed

Example:

On a site in Xigang village of Zhengzhou, central China's Henan province, which originally was planned to be affordable housing for low-income residents, developers had reportedly built 12 villas and two mid-rise buildings at the time of the incident.

When asked by a reporter about that, Lu Jun, then deputy director of the city's urban planning development, retorted: "Do you speak for the Party? Or do you speak for the people?"

Lu's words were recorded by a reporter of China National Radio and broadcast by the radio station in June. It caused a stir on the Internet. Lu was then suspended from his post and went under investigation for the "utterance".

The lesson: They are reporters, not your subordinates! (And they've got digital recorders.)

Commandment 2: Don't smoke expensive cigarettes.

When it applies: during a meeting with official colleagues

Example:

Zhou Jiugeng, the former director of the real estate management bureau of Jiangning district of Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu province, was exposed by netizens with photos featuring him smoking Nanjing 95 Imperial Cigarettes worth 180 yuan ($26.3) per pack.

Zhou was sentenced to 11 years in jail, with about 1.2 million yuan ($175,000) of personal property confiscated. He was convicted of accepting 1.07 million yuan ($170,000) and HK$110,000 ($14,000) in bribes from contractors, subordinate businesses and officials.

The lesson: Reporters are armed with cameras!

Commandment 3: Don't wear a luxury watch.

When it applies: while delivering a speech

Example:

The Zhou in Commandment 2 again. He was also spotted sporting a Vacheron Constantin watch worth at least 100,000 yuan ($14,642) in online photos during a meeting. Others like Zhou, 15 secretaries of county party committee in Shaanxi province wear luxury watches, photos posted online show.

The lesson: Reporters have cell phones with photo-taking functions.

Commandment 4: Don't drive a luxury car.

When it applies: while purchasing cars for official use

Example:

A notice of the government of Beichuan county, southwest China's Sichuan province, posted online at the beginning of this year, said a contract had been awarded to a car dealer in Mianyang city to buy a Toyota SUV for 1.1 million yuan ($161,051).

Beichuan, one of the worst-hit counties during the earthquake last year, has received financial aid and donations worth of 60 billion yuan. The quake left 10 percent of the county's population of 300,000 dead and destroyed 80 percent of the buildings. Jing Dazhong, chief of the Beichuan county government, told reporters his county purchased the Toyota Land Cruiser "mainly for the use of reconstruction work".

The county also announced that it had asked three other dealers to deliver a Nissan SUV, a Toyota Camry sedan, and a Changfeng SUV.

After waves of debate and queries from Internet users and the general public on the necessity of the purchase, the official responsible for the purchase was transferred to other posts.

The lesson: You're not on vacation while driving an official car!

Commandment 5: Don't let others hold an umbrella for you.

When it applies: during a visit to grassroots government units

Example:

In a blog post by Liao Xingbo, the deputy director-general of the Guangdong provincial health department, a photo with Liao's inferior holding an umbrella for him drew waves of comments online. Liao was reportedly asking a local villager about the source of their drinking water during a visit to the poorest family at the time the photo was taken. They didn't have access to tap water.

An online critic said officials like Liao are used to being taken care of and are too busy to hold an umbrella themselves.

The lesson: You're never too important to hold your own umbrella!

Commandment 6: Don't gawk at hot babes.

When it applies: during a general meeting with the staff

Example:

The dean of a hospital in Beijing surnamed Wu was said to be "drunk" in photos while having a general staff meeting, according to someone who posted the photos. Nicknamed "Drunken Wu," his eyes appeared to be glued to a nurse receiving a certificate from him in one of the photo set. Other scenes included him taking a nap at his desk.

Though it's not clear whether the dean was drunk or not, most online comments mocked the idleness he showed during work hours.

The lesson: Act decent, at least at the moment for a group photo

Commandment 7: Don't arrest Internet whistle-blowers.

When it applies: while being criticized online

Example:

Wang Shuai from Lingbao in central China's Henan province, who lives in Shanghai, was detained in March after he revealed the Dawang government's illegal land acquisition in an online post last May.

Wang was detained for eight days on charges of defamation, but was later released on bail. After investigation, the Henan provincial public security bureau found the accusation to be completely made-up and its director reportedly apologized to Wang later.

Lingbao officials in the public security bureau were also investigated for liability in the case.

The lesson: People have the right of free speech, and it includes cyberspace!

Commandment 8: Don't grin amid suffering.

When it applies: when disaster strikes

Example:

A local official was all smiles while welcoming the nation's top leaders to his badly damaged city after a natural disaster, and he was criticized online for acting improperly.

On the fourth day after the devastating earthquake hit Wenchuan, Sichuan province last year, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao paid a visit to Mianyang, one of the hardest-hit areas in Sichuan. Tan Li, then secretary of the Mianyang Municipal Party Committee, was shown in a photo from Xinhua News Agency smiling from ear to ear while welcoming Hu and Wen at the airport.

The lesson: Look somber when big-shots arrive during a time of trouble, even though you know you have a big chance of being promoted.

Commandment 9: Don't use your title just to attract attention.

When it applies: again, when disaster occurs

Example:

Zhang Tongkai, secretary of politics and the law committee of the CPC of Beichuan county, cried "Help, I'm the Secretary" when a search and rescue team arrived at the building where Zhang worked after the quake, according to a report last May.

The lesson: Every life is equally valuable.

Commandment 10: Don't post a paper on the Internet.

When it applies: when writing a thesis before graduation

Example:

At first, he was the youngest mayor in China and many questioned his competency. Then, 29-year-old Zhou Senfeng, mayor of Yicheng in central China's Hubei province, was accused of plagiarism in a published thesis before he got his master's degree from Tsinghua University in Beijing.

It was not clear the accusation had any ground. Without an expert assessment, it is hard to conclude whether Zhou plagiarized or he was wrongly accused of it.

The lesson: Think before you write!

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