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Corruption Charges After Incorruptible Speech

27 August 2006

Since Mr Qin Yu, the Chief of Baoshan District and former secretary to the Top Chief of Shanghai, has been formally investigated for corruption charges on Tuesday, there are many noises on China’s online forums demanding to "go for the tiger", meaning to catch a larger fish behind the shrimp.

For the most part in the last hundred years or so, Shanghai has not been popular among the rest of Chinese, and to use whatever an opportunity to verbally bash it has developed into a favourite national passtime. The reasons for this are multi-fold and complicated, which include Shanghai’s undignified response under foreign occupation during the World War II, and the rise and fall of the Gang of Four in the Cultural Revolution, as well as the perceived snobbishness and over self-indulgence displayed by some Shanghai citizens and officials.

But this time, even some Shanghai residents have joined the bashing team, because the 3.2 billion yuans that Qin allegedly has involved in wrong use are not any other money but the pensions for the city’s old and poor.

Ironically, shortly before Qin got his marching order for his alleged corruption, he hosted a meeting and talked about how to be an incorruptible official.

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Too Many Officials in China

One of China’s major problems today is having too many officials, a former Chinese human resource minister claimed.

Figures show that currently there is approximately one official for every 26 citizens (thirty years ago the figure was one for every 67), which means China has nearly 50 million people on management positions within all levels of the governments. A provincial government, it is said, normally would have forty to fifty deputy governors plus over hundreds even up to a thousand departmental chiefs. That is a lot of financial burden on tax-layers, not to mention a lot of trouble caused by this over-weighted bureaucratic system. A fat cat usually has difficulties in catching mouse.

Being an official in China is so tempting, that many newly riched would pay a large sum to buy a position in government, which is a bit like their counterparts in the West who used to be so keen on purchasing a title of dignitary. In a society traditionally values the spirit of sharing the opportunity and wealth, scholars and officials are the closest thing to aristocratic rank in China.


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