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Too many officials perch above the people   2011-09-20 15:38:00

To serve renmin (the people), or renminbi (the Chinese people's currency), that's the question.

But that should not be a question at all. Chairman Mao Zedong said long ago: Serve renmin. But only a couple of decades ago the question arose when many officials found themselves having to serve GDP instead.

In Mao's time, officials were sent to the countryside to be re-educated by poor farmers, and city doctors had to go barefoot to provide door-to-door service for the humble villagers.

Now officials hide in walled offices and doctors charge exorbitant fees - not everyone acts this way, but to say "most" is no exaggeration.

So alienated from the people are many of those in power that a high-level Communist Party official recently found it necessary to reaffirm the Party tradition: Go down and be one with the masses, treat the people as mentors.

Last Friday, Xinhua news agency quoted Li Yuanchao, head of the Party's Organization Department, as saying that officials must not perch above the public.

Xinhua dubbed those officials perching above the public as "three-gate cadres." Their life has been defined as and confined to a walk from the family gate to the school gate and ultimately to the administrative gate. Seldom have they exposed themselves to life at the grassroots.

"How can they serve the people now that they know nothing about the people?" Xinhua wrote. "Indeed, contempt for the people runs deep in the blood of some officials."

The Xinhua article partly explains why the voices of the powerless have often fallen upon the deaf ears of those officials who are no more than the puppets of various power groups - from real estate developers to car manufacturers to oil companies.

source : Shanghai Daily     editor:: Shirley
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