context: At the same time that Party leaders are looking to exert more control over institutions by rejuvenating Party branches, there are efforts to more tightly supervise bureaucrats and their behaviour and habits. These attempts to dominate decision-making are sure to have far-reaching effects in the ways that policy is thought about, made and implemented.

National People’s Congress issued a revised Civil Servants Law which aims to strengthen the Party’s leadership over civil servants through amending required political attributes, revising management and selection principles, and modifying obligations and conditions by which candidates are rejected. An Organisation department representative states that the newly revised Law reflects central government requirements on strict cadre management. Civil servants will be evaluated on their ideological beliefs and political outlook, performance, workstyle, and whether they abide by the law.

Prohibited acts now include

  • speech that harms the authority of the constitution and the Party’s reputation
  • organisation and participation in activities that harm the Party’s leadership such as protests
  • using religious activities to harm ethnic unity and social stability
  • violation of family virtues
  • failure to act and fulfill responsibilities
  • online misbehaviour
  • avoiding transfer to other regions
  • working as leaders of industry regulators or administrative departments in charge of supervising businesses run by their own spouses, children or spouses of their children

The revision also reforms the post and rank system, tying income and other benefits to ranks rather than posts as well as changing promotion mechanisms. The Law clarifies that if civil servants demonstrate that they are inappropriate or incompetent in their role, they will see their position adjusted; leaders no longer fit for duty will be ordered to resign. It also aims to stimulate enthusiasm within the civil service by rewarding those that dare to act and take responsibility, as well as reforming assessments. Provisions concerning overtime compensation, pensions, medical care, work injuries, maternity, unemployment and insurance benefits are also modified. The Law will come into effect 1 June 2019.