Reform social organizations with government backgrounds

Updated: 2014-05-29 08:40

By Li Yang (

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The streamlining of government and transformation of government functions are a self-revolution that should start with reforming ill-performing social organizations with government backgrounds, says an article in China Business News. Excerpts:

The Shanxi provincial government recently closed 52 social organizations with government backgrounds and ordered another 85 to reform within a certain period of time. More than 500 leaders of these organizations at county head level were sacked.

Some people call such government-funded social organizations, many of which operate as middlemen between the government and the market, “the second government”, because they wield administrative power and tend to seek illegal profits from their intervention in the market, thanks to that power.

The central government demands local governments delegate more powers to society and the market, streamlining their structures and improving their working style. However, some local governments just pretend to follow such orders by giving up some powers. In fact, they only pass the powers to organizations affiliated with them, which makes it more convenient for corrupt officials, under the guise of the social organizations’ identity, to abuse their powers for personal gain.

Such warped social organizations not only affect the normal order of the market, but also thwart the healthy development of real social organizations.

The case of Shanxi sets a good example for other provinces to clean up this murky field. Cutting the personnel, financial, functional and departmental connections between such organizations and the government is the first step to solve this long vexing issue.