China shifts away from economy-obsessed assessments
                 English.news.cn | 2013-12-09 20:51:17 | Editor: chengyang

BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese officials should downplay their obsession with economic growth and focus more on people's livelihoods and the environment, as the country trumpets a more balanced work evaluation system.

A circular on improving the work evaluation of local Party and government leaderships and officials stressed that "gross regional product (GRP) and its growth rates should not be the only main indices for the evaluation of local officials' work achievements, and charts with these data must be banned."

The document was released Monday by the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

China's central government traditionally assesses the performance of local authorities mainly through economic indices like GRP, which resulted in some local governments sacrificing the environment and residents' well being for better GRP figures.

"More distinctive and pertinent assessment indices should be created in accordance with the specific obligations of leaderships and officials at different levels and in different regions," said the statement, citing the integration of sustainable economic development, people's livelihoods, social harmony and ecological protection.

According to the document, greater emphasis should be given to indices related to the waste of resources, environmental protection, eliminating excess capacity and production safety. Also, evaluations in the fields of scientific innovation, education, culture, employment, income, social insurance and people's health should be strengthened.

According to the document, regions with restricted development and key impoverished counties with especially fragile eco-system should be exempt from GRP assessments.

Monday's circular echoed a key reform decision made last month by the CPC Central Committee which included a part stating that local governments in ecologically fragile areas will not be pressed to pursue economic growth.

"Central authorities should not base their regional development evaluations simply on product volumes, and local Party and government organs at various levels should not base their assessments of lower-level leaderships and officials simply on such data either," said the circular.

The document stressed that economic development is not necessarily linked to officials' ethics, abilities and cleanhanded work style, and it should not be the sole basis for the dismissal and promotion of personnel.

According to the circular, officials should be held responsible for behaviors that violate scientific principles.

"Those who do things and make decisions obtrusively that result in huge losses to the country, harm people's benefits or are a severe waste of resources or cause ecological damage should be put on record and subject to disciplinary punishments -- even if they have left their posts," said the circular.

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China to improve evaluation system to cut GDP obsession

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