This January 9th People’s Daily report reminds me of stories about people in this or that Chinese government office using the official stamp to “approve” something. No traceable signature, just the office stamp. Another way to avoid responsibility. Or at times even taking the stamp and ‘approving’ something anonymously without authorization.
This practice has advantages for people living amid political instability, unpredictable political campaigns and worries that local leaders will make use of a campaign to settle local scores, I imagine.
Another sign that officials are scared by the continuing anti-corruption campaign crackdowns. Not that fighting corruption, like democracy is not “a good thing”. Cracking down in a charged atmosphere where innocent people can easily be swept up creates fear. Just like in Bo Xilai’s Chongqing. I remember even seeing an editorial in a Chinese magazine talking about the lack of due process in Bo Xilai’s Chongqing (that was the sense, don’t remember the exact wording) and adding that many innocent people were being punished.