The Communist Party of China (CPC) has been improving the overall quality of Party officials by selecting the most competent and sacking the corrupt.
In some local governments, officials used to be selected or promoted merely because they had been in their posts during periods of rapid GDP growth, or because they had been working for the government for a long time.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 however, GDP growth is no longer the only game in town. Quality and sustainable development, rising standards of living and social harmony are now included in the mix.
In June 2014, the general office of the CPC Central Committee declared that young officials should be given more opportunities to work in remote and impoverished areas where they can gain better experience. Those who distinguish themselves will be promoted.
Party secretaries and specified discipline officials are now required to sign off on guarantees of newly promoted officials’ integrity.
While selecting candidates on the basis of their merits attacks the problem from the bottom up, it is equally important to identify the bad apples which are already in the barrel and throw them out.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has now completed all the inspections mandated by the 18th CPC Central Committee. Over the past five years, inspections have swept through local governments, public institutions, state-owned enterprises, financial institutions and universities.
The CPC has removed more than 40,000 Party leaders and cadres from part-time “jobs” in enterprises.
More than 200 vice-ministerial or higher levels of officials and managers have been investigated since the 18th CPC National Congress, according to Zhang Hao, a professor from Party School of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of CPC.
“The number has tripled that of the 2007 to 2012 period,” he said.
Apart from “tigers”, or high-level officials engaged in major graft cases, “flies,” or grass-root officials, have also been addressed.
A report released by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of China in March said graft cases of over 17,000 low-level officials had been handled over the past year, mainly in land grabs, demolitions and fund management related to agriculture, rural area and farmers. Change is underway and there is no going back.