Unusual step

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-24 07:39
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Wang Zhenyao's upright and outspoken manner may have irritated some, but the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) where he worked for 22 years will surely feel his absence.

Wang, as the head of the Department for the Advancement of Social Welfare and Philanthropic Undertakings under the MCA, played a key role in initiating subsistence guarantees for urban residents, developing the four-level national disaster relief response mechanism, initiating a government allowance program for senior citizens and basic guarantees for orphans, as well as coming up with the idea of "civilian charities."

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Wang will now head a non-governmental charity research institute.

This low-profile official has not made public the specific reasons for quitting, and denied media reports that said he was "lonely" on the job.

Wang, however, confessed that he had "expected too much" from the system. He also acknowledged that it was a "considerable challenge" to get the official apparatus to come up with a decent public service network.

Wang was an oddball trapped in a rigid bureaucratic set-up. He was also seen as a "scholarly" official bent upon taking his role and its procedures too seriously.

Wang, although a rarity in today's government departments, embodies many of the ideals we expect from an official serving the public.

And, we presume that unlike others in similar situations, he has resigned to do a better job.

For standing up for society's struggling underclass, Wang deserves high praise.

(China Daily 06/24/2010 page8)