Public Performance Reviews Prompt Self-Promotion by Government Agencies

December 20, 2004

According to a December 15 Beijing News report, an impending public performance review of 82 government agencies in Jiangsu province is prompting officials to buy self-promoting media advertisements. Recent Party and government reforms in many localities have introduced a degree of public supervision into the process of evaluating government performance and selecting officials. In Jiangsu, agencies receiving poor performance reviews from the public risk administrative reorganization, and agency heads may be disciplined. Although the reforms may make government bureaus more responsive to citizen concerns, they also may encourage officials to use government funds to inflate the ratings of their departments. Chinese observers voice suspicion of the last-minute nature of the advertising blitz in Jiangsu, as well as concerns about where the money came from to carry it out.