left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Commentary blasts government
officials for lack of reading

Updated: 2015-06-12 15:47

Commentary blasts government <BR>officials for lack of reading

People read books before a shelf filled with Party education material in Ningbo city, East China's Zhejiang province, photo undated. [Photo/CFP]


A commentary published on Thursday in Xinhua's Outlook Weekly Magazine criticized Chinese government officials for not reading enough, and attributed this to their preference for forming networks and their materialism.

The article said Guangdong anti-graft inspectors rummaged through Shenzhen official Jiang Zunyu's home after his downfall, and found his bookshelf filled with expensive cigarettes, alcohol, jade wares, paintings and calligraphy, but only one book, which was "unsuitable for minors".

Jiang, secretary of Shenzhen city's CPC committee of political and law affairs, was typical of modern-day Communist Party officials, who showed little interest in reading, the report said.

In a 2014 survey on officials' reading habits, carried out by the Central Party School in Beijing, 71 per cent of party officials rated their reading habits as "so-so", while 12 per cent rated them "poor" or "very poor". Only 17 percent rated them "good" or "very good".

"Although [we] can't require every official to keep a book in hand all the time and work in a scholarly style, the phenomenon that some officials are not reading anything at all is abnormal," said Tan Fang, a public administration professor from South China Normal University.

Hu Xianzhi, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that officials always explain that they are too busy, but the key reasons why they care little about reading, is that they do not see it as useful.

"From the experience of disgraced officials, they didn't lack the time to read, they were spending their time engaging in dishonest practices."

He also said that if promotion for officials is not based on their performances and real achievements, but based on links with factions, that will push officials who want higher positions to go after nepotism, instead of studying.

Tan said the lack of reading had led to a drop in the overall quality of cadres.

"What's typical is that some local public policy documents show a lack of common sense in history, humanity and are filled with shocking remarks. It is largely related to the fact that officials don't read and study enough," Tan said.

In April, the party's Publicity Department recommended seven books for officials, including two on President Xi Jinping's philosophy on governing China and fighting corruption, and former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's biography.

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.