Excess Administration Despite State Reform

January 16, 2008 12:00 am Last Updated: January 16, 2008 12:00 am

TAIPEI—In recent years, China has enforced nationwide administrative reforms to reduce personnel. Despite these efforts to downsize government agencies, the number of unnecessary government employees in the Wanzhou District, Chongqing City seems to be growing. After 10 years of taking steps to do away with the excess work force, this area still is more than 2,000 over the personnel limit. There are found to be an excess of officials in quite a few departments and there is not enough office space or work to utilize them all.

On January 6, the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao (DaKung Daily) reported that there are over 10 deputies in several departments in the Wanzhou District. For instance, there are 11 deputy-directors for the Bureau of Agriculture, and 14 deputy-directors for the Department of Propaganda. Although there is an excess of department heads, quite a few of the departments themselves have no staff members.

To get promoted in this environment, officials are locked in a constant power struggle. The dysfunctional process has tarnished people of, and escaladed their dissatisfaction with these government agencies.

Because the office space cannot accommodate the excess administration, officials are forced to take turns coming to the office.

Xu Suhuan, vice chair of the Wanzhou District Political Consultative Conference and vice-director of the Commission for Economic and Trade of Wanzhou District, said that the Wanzhou District government has four times more officials than other districts.

According to Wanzhou District officials, the excessive district management unit can be traced to a legacy proposal that never materialized. The Three Gorges Area was originally intended to be elevated as a province, making the Wanzhou District the headquarters of the provincial government. The proposed change led a number of officials to gather in the area to serve as future provincial leaders. Yet the proposal was later denied, with no solution to the excessive administration.

Experts believe that the country's basic administrative reforms provide no solution for the Wanzhou District, and warn that other arrangements should be made for this area.