Assessment preys on vanity

Updated: 2011-10-17 07:59

(China Daily)

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It is ridiculous to put state-level poverty-stricken counties on the list of the nation's 100 economically strong counties. But this is what happened when a company published such a list recently.

An investigation by reporters from Xinhua News Agency exposed the assessment as a sham, published by a company that used the assessment to make money.

The company sent forms to county governments' statistics departments asking them to complete the forms so the counties could be listed as one of the nation's 100 economically strong counties. It then asked the country governments to buy the books it published or pay fees for the assessment.

This small company with registered funds of only 100,000 yuan ($15,600) has conducted such an assessment for 11 years, making many county governments believe that it was authorized by the government to publish such a list.

The National Bureau of Statistics used to publish such a list according to the comprehensive economic indexes of each county every year from 1991 until 2007.

What this sham reveals first of all is the loose management of companies by the local administration of industry and commerce, which should know what a company's business is when it registers. Then it should supervise whether the business does what it claims it was going to do.

This small company is not qualified and has no mandate from the government authorities to conduct such an assessment and publish such a list. But it has done so for 11 years.

Another message from this sham is that some local government leaders do not have a down-to-earth or honest work attitude. The leaders of these state-level poverty-stricken counties should have known better than anyone else that their counties could not be listed as one of the 100 economically strong counties. However, they are too concerned with vanity titles that will boost their achievements as county leaders.

It is this mentality of local county leaders that the company has taken advantage of in conducting such a meaningless assessment and publishing such a ridiculous list. During each assessment, the company organizes seminars and forums, which government officials and even scholars attend. Such activities have added authenticity to the activity and persuade local county leaders that getting their counties on the list will benefit them.

Where there is such vanity to be taken advantage of, there is a way for fraudsters to make profits.

Apart from tightening the management of companies, it is even more important to bring home to county leaders the awareness that the best way to gain promotion is to do a good job in promoting local economic growth and improving the living standards of local residents.

If they are sensible enough to know this, they should never fall into such traps.

(China Daily 10/17/2011 page8)