China's top political
advisers have called for the public to play a greater role in the
evaluation, selection and promotion of government
"We suggest changing the current appraisal system,
which depends on mainly higher-level officials assessing
lower-level ones to enlarge and strengthen the participation of
citizens," said Chen Qingtai, deputy director of the Economic
Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference (CPPCC) National Committee.
"We should study and establish an evaluation system
that allows government officials to pursue political achievements
in line with sustainable economic and social
Chen made the call yesterday in a keynote speech on
political system reform during a plenary meeting attended by more
than 2,100 CPPCC members.
Chen, the former deputy director of the Development
Research Centre under the State Council, did not give further
During his government work report delivered to the
National People's Congress on Monday, Premier Wen Jiabao also pledged to enhance the
transparency of government work and the participation of the
The move was apparently aimed at lessening local
government officials' preoccupation with economic growth while
ignoring public welfare.
CPPCC member Ma Peihua suggested the government focus
more on performance in environmental protection rather than GDP
growth when evaluating officials.
"Some local governments still blindly pursue GDP
growth at the cost of a worsening environment and a huge amount of
energy consumption," Ma said in his speech. "Although the
government has included 'restrictive targets' such as pollutant
discharge and energy conservation in its political performance
As a result, the two major pollutants discharged last
year in China increased by 1.2 and 1.8 percent respectively from
2005, with GDP and finance income up by 10.7 and 23.3
"When the two contradict each other, we should
absolutely not sacrifice those restrictive targets for other
benefits," Ma said. "Otherwise we are pursuing a short-term
Ma suggested the country establish a responsibility
and accountability system as soon as possible, with intensified
supervision to follow.
But some CPPCC members considered it impractical to
change the country's government official evaluation system in the
"The current official appointment system is such a
complicated political issue and it is impossible to extend much
participation to the grassroots in China today," said economist Wu
Jie. He added that although China's economic system has been
overhauled over the past two decades, there is still a long way for
the country to go in reforming its political system.
(China Daily March 11,