Rampant corruption and alienation from the people were among the four dangers that Hu Jintao warned of at the 90th anniversary of the CCP.
Extensive commentary on this subject was published this week by Zhou Ruijin, the former editor-in-chief of the official People’s Daily and an influential pro-reform Party elder. Zhou warns of local government chiefs who “are not whether the price is loss of government credibility or the disintegration of popular support.”
Translated at China Media Project:
Lately I’ve had a deep sense of anxiety as I’ve watched one occurrence after another of tensions between governments and people at the local level, which have become more an more acute. A number of officials at the local government level have abused their powers, again and again trampling the human rights, right to life and rights of property of ordinary people. Those affected turn to petitioning, make contact with the media, or go online to report their stories. If they turn to legal proceedings and other like methods in an attempt to protect the legitimate rights granted them in the constitution, they find that these channels for voicing their interests are blocked. What’s more, local governments will level such charges as “slander” (诽谤) or “extortion of the government” (敲诈政府) to go after them, “arresting them across provincial borders” (跨省抓捕) or simply locking them away in mental hospitals claiming that they are “psychological unsound.” Not long ago, Wuhan petitioner Xu Wu (徐武) was lucky enough to escape from a “mental hospital” after being locked up for four years, but then was openly dragged away by Wuhan police from the courtyard of Guangdong’s Southern Television (TVS) and again committed to a mental hospital. There was a buzz of public opinion around the country, but authorities in Hubei simply responded by suppressing media reporting.
These arrogant and unreasonable methods scraped the very bottom of the ethics of governance, seriously going against our Party’s political aim that says that “the Party works for the public, and exercises power for the people” (立党为公、执政为民). Lately the problem of petitioners “being [forcibly committed to] mental hospitals” (被精神病) has become, like the problem of forced property demolition (暴力拆迁), a painful new concern of the people. The first concern of many leaders now is to maintain the semblance of stability while they are in their posts. If nothing goes wrong they earn their political points (不出事, 出政绩).
In order to preserve the face and awe of the local government, and even of the various interest groups with which they have creeping connections, they will not stop at harming the interests of the people, and they even cloak themselves in the tiger skins of “stability preservation,” deceiving their superiors with claims [that they are battling] “hostile forces” and masses who “don’t understand the truth,” excusing their own incompetence in public administration and their ruthless offenses. They care not whether the price is loss of government credibility or the disintegration of popular support.
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