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Civil servant paid for doing nothing

Updated: 2011-02-12 07:37

By Wei Tian (China Daily)

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FUZHOU - Can I get a job like that, too?

A freeloading civil servant has become the target of Internet slurs after netizens discovered he had been paid for more than seven years without working a single day.

Sarcastically dubbed "China's most capable civil servant", Jiang Jinxiang was recommended to a post in the urban construction supervision branch in Longyan city of East China's Fujian province in October 2003.

Though he never showed up for his job, his salary was still punctually deposited into his account every month - for the next 89 months.

When reached by China Daily on Friday, Jiang claimed he was never aware his post had been transferred to the urban construction supervision branch.

"I was never notified about my 'new job'. I thought the money was payment during my suspension from a previous post," Jiang said.

Jiang, who had been a section chief in the Fujian Provincial People's Congress, was suspended from his work in 2002 over a controversial case, and has been out of work ever since.

Xinhua News Agency quoted an official with the Longyan city government as saying that Jiang was recommended to his current post by the city's personnel bureau.

Jiang said he relied on the salary to support his family and his wife, who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"We've contacted Jiang, asking him to return to the branch as soon as possible, but he rejected us," said Zheng Lixin, head of the Longyan construction bureau which oversees Jiang's branch.

"If he continues to do this, we'll take measures to address it in line with related policies," he said.

But Jiang said he will never go back to work until his suspension is canceled and his original position is reinstated.

Zheng told China Daily that Jiang could only receive a basic salary during his absence, and continuing to pay his salary was based partly on humanitarian reasons, but also because he had a recommendation from "above".

According to Jiang, his salary has increased from 800 yuan ($120) a month in 2003 to 2,600 yuan in 2011.

Lack of transparency in the payroll system in some government departments has long been blamed for a series of payment errors in the country.

In 2006, Chongqing was reported to have uncovered 3,000 employees in government and public institutions who were chronically absent, while neighboring Sichuan province had an even larger freeloading group, with nearly 40,000 civil servants costing 64 million yuan a year for doing nothing.

"Such payment errors happen in private companies too when salaries are paid to employees who have already left," said Wen Yueran, a human resources expert at Renmin University of China.

"But this time it's the stable job and higher income of civil servants that have caught people's eyes."

Wen said although there are laws and regulations, such as the Civil Servant Law, to help supervise such ill practices, they haven't been fully implemented.

"Another reason is that superiors' orders still carry great power in the country," Wen said.

Professor Tang Jun with the social policy research center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said it is good that more people are paying close attention to the errors.

"But sometimes things are easily exaggerated because civil servants are such a hot topic at the moment," he said.


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