It’s an expensive way to go about it, but in order to “maintain stability” in the Chinese countryside, about 15,000 cadres in Hebei Province are being ordered to leave their regular posts in the cities and sent to reside in over 5,000 villages. The massive project started on Feb. 10, according to an article The Beijing News.
The cadres were to eat, sleep, and remain in the villages for the next eight months. The Hebei provincial government set aside 250 million yuan as part of the “Party official work budget” to pay the cadres’ room and board.
Villages were additionally promised 500 million yuan, paid for as part of the “project initiation budget.” The mission of the cadres in the villages is to “maintain social stability” and ensure there are no large scale uprisings before the 18th Party Congress in October. They will be expected to significantly decrease the number of appeals to the provincial government and to Beijing, and of course “help the villagers develop their economy.”
If there were any attempts to petition from a village, the corresponding group of Party officials would lose their chance to compete for the “advanced group” title. If there were uprisings or large scale appeals, “not only would the working group be responsible, but the original work units would have to explain themselves.”
Political commentator for the New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television Wen Zhao told The Epoch Times that it’s a matter of location and timing. Because Beijing is in Hebei Province, and the 18th Party Congress is scheduled to be in October, the highest priority for Party officials at that politically sensitive time will be to prevent any incidents.
“The purpose of officials residing in the villages from February to end of October is to ‘stabilize the base.’ Since the villagers are constantly being monitored, they are compensated by the special budget. The budget can be used to settle issues early,” he said.
Human rights activist Hu Jun told The Epoch Times that not only Hebei Province, but the entire country, including Xinjiang Province, is going through the “stability madness.” The administrative personnel cannot take care of regular tasks while everyone is trying to “maintain stability,” he said.
This stability exercises has generated a lot of commentary online. There were nearly 13,000 Weibo posts about the Beijing News article on Sina the day the Beijing News piece came out. A netizen from Shenzhen commented on what they thought was the bitter irony of the spending. “250 million yuan! How many school buses can be purchased for the kids in poor regions? Shameful!”
Read the original Chinese article.