Judge officials' performance by people's livelihood

Updated: 2014-08-14 16:48

By Li Yang (chinadaily.com.cn)

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Only when the governments in richer regions of China abolish the growth-based official performance evaluation system can the transformation of China really start, says an article in 21st Century Business Herald. Excerpts:

More than 70 counties and cities have clearly indicated they will not evaluate civil servants' performance by local economic growth. Some people think this is a signal that China's transformation from a growth-oriented development to a more sustainable development is speeding up.

It may not be that easy to get that result.

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that judging civil servants' performance by the improvement of people's livelihood, social progress and ecological protection in June last year.

The central authority abolished the growth-based assessment system for poor regions and places with a weak ecosytem soon afterwards.

Most of the 70 counties and cities are such regions. The local governments will focus more on improving poor people's lives, and protecting the environment. The officials in these poor regions have enough reasons to get rid of the pressure from gross domestic product growth. It is natural for them to make the "difficult change" so fast.

But few governments in the better-off eastern part of China have done so, because it is easier to attract investment and develop industries than protecting the already bad environment.

The central government needs to urge governments in richer areas to divert more attention to people's livelihoods and environmental protection. It means the real transformation of China's growth model.

The downward pressure on the economy aggravates the local government debt issue, especially in eastern and central China. If these places continue to place the emphasis on GDP growth, the debt issue and many other problems distorting the economy in China will be beyond remedy.