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Ads spree tells loose official assessment
Hu CongChina Daily  Updated: 2004-12-15 08:49

According to Xinhua News Agency, dozens of senior civil servants in Jiangsu Province are "lining up" to buy newspaper pages and TV commercials to advertise their performance.

The publicity campaign is going on as the provincial government is collecting public opinions for the year-end assessment of some 87 provincial bureaux and services. The opinion polls will affect the career outlook of chiefs of the assessed bureaux, the report says.

The pageant of official advertisements is going to be eye-popping in a country where civil servants are traditionally expected to serve the people whole-heartedly.

But it's hard to say the invention by Jiangsu officials has no merit at all.

The advertising can be a way of making known many administrations' work which many citizens may otherwise not know, clarify misunderstanding and win trust from the public.

Public opinion is at least becoming something the advertisers cannot afford to neglect in this case.

The advertising show can be seen as a side-product of Jiangsu Province's move towards a transparent administration.

Nevertheless, there are still concerns about the current official advertising spree. First of all, every penny spent on the advertisements must be justifiable. Perhaps the auditing department should step in to find out whether there is any misuse of public money.

It is also essential to work out regular ways of interaction between civil servants and citizens rather than relying on the crucial-moment publicity blitz.

Increasing the clout of public opinion is a desirable formula that conforms to the country's pursuit of transparent and democratic administration.

As long as it is implemented, there is hope we will see more things done than just talked about.

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