Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Former Party Official Censured for Sina Weibo Statements, Online Essay That "Severely Damaged the Party's Image"

On April 22, 2016, the state sponsored media outlet "The Paper" published an article entitled "Wenling Communist Party Official Censured by Party for Publishing and Reposting Erroneous Statements" (浙江温岭一党员公开发布、转载错误言论,被党内严重警告处分).  According to that report, Mu Yifei, a former official a Party School in Wenling, Zhejiang, had been censured by the Communist Party for violating Article 133(2) of the 2016 "Regulations on Chinese Communist Party Disciplinary Measures" and Article 46 of the 2003 "Regulations on Chinese Communist Party Disciplinary Measures" by publishing and reposting statements that were inconsistent with the Party orthodxy, thereby "severely damaging the Party's image."

On April 28, 2016, the China Youth Online website (sponsored by the Chinese Communist Party Youth League) published an article entitled "A 'Retired But Not Resigned' Official Gets Punished, Why Are Internet Users Protesting an Injustice?" (“休而不退”的公务员被处分,网民因何为其鸣不平?).

That article included images of Sina Weibo posts which it claimed showed Internet users criticizing Mu Yifei. In the example below from 2013,  Mu had reposted a comment by another user regarding a book on reform by Hu Deping - the son of Hu Yaobang and former vice chairman of All-China General Chamber of Industry & Commerce. The Weibo user said:
Is there anything in there about multi-party systems, constitutional governance, freedom of association, independent judiciaries, press freedom, or private publishing? I fear there is not a single sentence, nothing about opposition parties, as there’s only one party, and just the illusion of reform.
To which another Weibo user responds:
What is goal of multi-party systems, constitutional governance, freedom of association, independent judiciaries, press freedom, or private publishing? You are an instructor at a Party school, what do you think you're doing reposting this?
According to images of the Party Decision posted online:
On April 6, 2016, Mu Yifei published an article entitled "The Profound Regrets of Someone 'Retired But Not Resigned'" in the Information Times, a portion of which included erroneous content. It was reposted by many websites, and created a wave of discussion, causing a severely harmful influence.

Below is a full translation of that article, which has since been deleted from the Information Times website.
I've been thinking about writing this article for quite some time. Today I saw a news report from Hunan that made me take up pen. According to the report in the "Outlook" weekly recently in certain places in Hunan there have been some younger "officers" and "hands" whose main job is to provide reports to superiors calling for "public officials over 50 to step aside and enjoy better compensation than they do at their post" and voluntarily apply for "early retirement" and become "ex-officials" who are "retired but not resigned."

I happen to be one of these "ex-officials." I'm from Zhejiang, and in 2008 I took up the life of a "ex-official." Today I'm official retired. Even if I wanted to rectify my mistakes, I no longer have the opportunity, and I therefore can only write this guilt-stricken essay.

First, I feel shame for every penny of my not-insignificant salary. For a period of 8-9 years I did nothing. I collected my salary as usual, and enjoyed substantial benefits. And my salary was no small thing, along the lines of what an individual taxpayer earning over 120,000 yuan would get. Even though it wasn't like I didn't want to do anything, but my hands were tied by policies. But after all is said and done I was dining out on someone else's dime, and the salary I was getting was somewhat impractical.

Second, I feel shame for all the hardships endured by the workers. They work from dawn to dusk, doing the hard labor, and the money they struggle to earn - why should that be going to feed those like us who have jobs but do no work? Are they perfectly content to go on feeding and clothing us like this? Has anyone bothered to seek out their views on this? If we feel no shame before them, then that itself is something to be ashamed of.

Third, I feel shame of those labored 9-5 under me. Those who qualify for "early retirement" are inevitably those who fulfilled unimportant posts. To put it another way, if after you've retired the post can be left, only then do you qualify for "early retirement." Those subordinates of a similar age to me who do not qualify for "early retirement" have no option but to keep clocking in. When things get tense they they have no choice but pop a pill and work overtime. It is hard not to feel somewhat ashamed as I sit back and watch their busy lives.

Everyone knows that workers are best when they are in their 50s, when their experience is high, their energy is strong, and their worries are few. Furthermore, someone who gets by at an unimportant lower level post will usually have some skills. There can be no doubt that it is a waste to allow such people to get a substantial salary while sitting at unemployed. I see my colleagues everywhere raising birds and walking dogs, others sit around every day watching TV, other are fond of playing online games. Those who don't create problems for others and aren't corrupt are already considered outstanding. So who cares if they feel like a candle that's been snuffed out before its burned halfway down?

How many such unemployed people are there around the country? How many financial resources are being used to keep them feed and clothed? An accounting is due. If this is being done to foster new cadres, vacating space for them to occupy, then I have to ask, what's the point of fostering so many new cadres if your not utilizing the cadres you've already fostered? So many highly experienced public officials in the prime of their lives are being set aside, so what is the point of bringing in so many new officials every year? If the only purpose is to solve the employment issue, then is the cost-to-benefit ration for this approach too low? Relevant laws and regulations restrict early retire to those with at least 30 years of work experience, but some localities have taken it on themselves to lower it from 30 to 20. Should that not be suspected of violating the law?

I have been tardy in writing this essay before, mainly because I feared people would say I was reluctant to leave my post, even one so unimportant. Now I am fully retired, so I have no fear of what others may say behind my back. I feel that I must get this long-buried shame off my chest, and in the unlikely event that it offends someone, there is nothing I can do about that.








These screenshots show that article originally appeared on page A26 of the April 6 edition, but that entire page was subsequently removed from the Information Times' website.

Translation: Xu Zhiyong's Statement in His Own Defense

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