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Government procurement undermines credibility | Updated: 2013-05-13 14:21

It is ridiculous that about 3.8 million copies of dictionaries of very poor quality and far more mistakes than national standards allow could be published and sold at a price above the market average within four months in Hubei province “thanks to” government procurement, says an article in People’s Daily. Excerpts:

A good policy that culturally benefits the public by providing 120 million rural primary and junior middle school students each a free Xinhua Dictionary has become the tool for profit in the hand of some local governors.

Although it is common for the public to find a product price in a government purchase higher than the market price, it is beyond the pale when it happens in the education sector.

The incident is not unique in Hubei province, as government procurement, which should fair competition and trade, fails to purchase products of “good value for money” even with bidding procedures. Public and social supervision is urgently needed to monitor fiscal expenditures at all levels.

If the publishing industry has relied solely on profits from supplementary books or a monopoly, and felt content with for-profit models of behind-the-scene manipulation and shoddy manufacturing, it will falsely thrive at the cost of the healthy growth of Chinese youths as well as the fundamentals and future of our culture.

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