2007: China’s Civil Service — Some Sources

Chinese senior civil servants move all around China and in and out of major state enterprises as well as various government departments of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. American civil servants don’t rotate formally among departments but they may of course move if they find opportunities.

A kindly scholar gave me some suggestions for further looking into the Chinese civil service system. The scholar said that at high levels rotation is a must but that there are also some short-term rotations at lower levels to get grassroots experience. He suggested looking up some of the work of John Burns on China’s civil service system.

The relatively large number of political appointees in the U.S. federal government compared with say the Japanese government which has  no political appointees in Japanese government below cabinet level.  Probably every system of government tries in one way or another to avoid avoid stove-piping and figure out how to make the various departments of government work together more effectively.

My favorite book in this line is James Q. Wilson’s Bureaucracy – What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It

I wonder how the U.S. compares with other countries in this area …

The political appointees affiliated with Democratic Party or Republican parties as they generally alternate in the Executive Branch of the U.S. Federal government may well serve in several agencies during their careers. This non-formal rotation provides some of the benefits of a formal rotation system.

Now back to the original question:

I have found Chinese official career patterns intriguing too. Having looked over the official biographies of some senior Chinese leaders, I wonder if the U.S. counterpart of a top Chinese leader would be someone who has served as Lt. Governor of North Carolina, a senior manager at GM, Governor of Ohio, chair of Microsoft and then maybe chair of the House Appropriations Committee!

Different systems produce different patterns of experiences in their top leadership.

Sometimes looking through many biographies can give you an idea of career patterns hard to discern otherwise. Historians use group biographies – life and times biographies – sometimes where the material on this chosen subject is a bit thin.

There is a lot of data on official career patterns. The People’s Daily page on local leaders is full of CV’s   http://ldzl.people.com.cn/dfzlk/front/firstPage.htm  A page like this could even be run though Google Translate to give the non-sinoliterate and idea about these things.  For example, the biography of Hebei Province Communist Party Provincial Party Committee Secretary Zhao Kezhi 赵克志 is at URL http://ldzl.people.com.cn/dfzlk/front/personPage4952.htm  Now put that URL into Google Translate and you get

Zhao Kezhi resume

Machine translated text:

Zhao Kezhi, male, the Han nationality, born in December 1953, Shandong Lacey people, joined the party in January 1975, in March 1973 to participate in the work of the Central Party School graduate student degree in science and socialism graduate, the Central Party School postgraduate degree.

1973.03 Lixi County, Shandong Province Agricultural Science Dazhai team members, Xia Gezhuang commune deputy secretary of the Communist Party Committee, Party Committee Standing Committee, Jiang Shan commune Party Committee, propaganda committee
1980.01 Communist Youth League of Shandong Province Lacey County deputy secretary (presided over the work, during: 1980.09-1982.07 Shandong Provincial Party School cadres specializing in learning)
1982.09 Communist Youth League of Shandong Province Lacey county party secretary
1983.03 Lanxi County, Shandong Province Nan Lan commune secretary of the party committee
1983.08 Lixi County, Shandong Province water town party secretary
1984.04 Lanxi County, Shandong Province, deputy secretary of the county government county magistrate
1987.03 Shandong Province Jimo municipal deputy secretary, municipal government mayor
1989.09 Shandong Province Jimo municipal party committee secretary
1991.09 Shandong Province Urban and Rural Construction Committee Deputy Director
1994.08 Shandong Province Urban and Rural Construction Committee (during which: 1995.09-1996.07 Central Party school year young cadres training courses)
1997.12 Dezhou City Party Committee of Shandong Province
(1996.07-1998.07 Central Party School in-service graduate class science socialism professional study)
2001.01 Shandong Province government party members
2001.02 Vice Governor of Shandong Province, member of the party group
2006.01 Vice Governor of the Shandong Provincial Government, Deputy Secretary of the Party Group
2006.03 Standing Committee of Jiangsu Provincial Committee
2006.04 Jiangsu Provincial Standing Committee, deputy governor of the provincial government, deputy party secretary
2010.08 Deputy secretary of the Guizhou Provincial Committee, the provincial government on behalf of the governor
2010.09 Guizhou Provincial Committee, deputy governor of the provincial government
2012.07 Guizhou provincial party committee secretary, provincial government governor
2012.12 Guizhou Provincial Party Committee Secretary
2013.01 Guizhou Provincial Party Committee Secretary, Provincial People’s Congress Standing Committee
2015.07 Hebei Provincial Party Committee Secretary
2016.01 Hebei Provincial Party Committee Secretary, Provincial People’s Congress Standing Committee
18th Central Committee.
(People’s Network data as of November 2016)

A good start on questions about rotations in the Chinese government can be made using this site. The Leader Activities webpage on the People’s Daily website also has CVs of senior provincial leaders grouped by province at http://leaders.people.com.cn/GB/70117/index.html

Here is the Google Translated “Leader Activities” section on appointments and ending of appointments to official positions. 

You can simply click through to translate the articles listed there.




About 高大伟 David Cowhig

Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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