Opinion / From the Press

Zhejiang civil servant employment reform seen as model for others

By Li Yang ( Updated: 2014-05-07 08:29

The reformed civil servant employment system in Zhejiang, if implemented around the country, can bring about more positive changes to the government and society, says an article of the Southern Metropolis Daily. Excerpts:

The Zhejiang provincial government piloted the employment system for civil servants in Yiwu city from last December. The first six employed civil servants will take their posts soon, after five months’ examination and a qualification check.

Civil servant is a synonym of a lifelong-tenure job in China. For many people, working in the government means privilege, power and wealth. To be a civil servant is the first choice for most college graduates in China today, when they look for jobs. The recruitment exam for civil servants in China is one of the most competitive tests in the world.

Zhejiang’s reform in employing civil servants is a breakthrough to end the lifelong-tenure system for civil servants. A contract can better remind the employees of their responsibilities and duties.

The employment system can also help officials get rid of the sense of superiority and illegal privileges. If the employment system can be spread in the country, it can also eliminate the bureaucracy among governmental departments.

The system can choose the people who are best ready to serve the public, and weed out the people who only want to secure a comfortable job.

It is predictable that the pilot reform in Zhejiang will be popular among job-hunters. But many current civil servants will necessarily resist the change. The six employed civil servants in Yiwu all take professional posts that need considerable expertise and techniques. And the central government has not yet shown any support to spread the employment system for civil servants nationwide.

For some sensitive posts concerning national security, prudence in the employment system is necessary. But for most of the office jobs in government, it is better to use the system to improve the government’s efficiency and working style.

Working for the government has been the pursuit for the educated in Chinese history. The change of government officials’ employment system can influence social culture and transform the government’s roles from an administrative authority to a public service provider.

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