Chinese Localities Experimenting With More Open Methods of Selecting Officials

October 14, 2004

According the South China Morning Post and People’s Daily , the Heilongjiang Provincial Party Committee will rely on an “independent” human resources firm to identify candidates to fill the position of deputy director at a provincial business bureau. According to other reports in the 21st Century Business Herald , the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee has introduced an “open selection” process for certain provincial posts, including the live broadcast of candidate responses to questions from a selection committee. In some cases, these steps appear to be anti-corruption measures focused on domestic political goals. Some of these measures may also be intended to introduce elements of transparency and competitiveness into the selection process for candidates for government office. Jiangsu provincial Party officials and candidates alike say that their system improves the public's perception of government and results in the appointment of better-qualified officials. While these developments are positive, so far their scope has been limited. The positions involved in these initiatives are generally low to mid-level, and the extent of outside input remains strictly constrained (e.g., non-Party input has been used solely to narrow the candidate list).