Friday, December 16, 2005

In the course of exchanging an email with a colleague, I am suddenly reminded of a story that a Shandong provincial government official told me when I was in Beijing recently. He said that cadres with university or graduate school experience do not get promoted as rapidly because they are unwilling to take small bribes (meaning they will only take large bribes, out of pride). In contrast, those (like the speaker himself) who are willing to take all kinds of bribes are able to build up a greater cash reserve with which to pay his superiors bribes. Therefore, they get quicker promotions. He calls this phenomenon "counter natural selection" (ni taotai). It seems that things are moving even beyond factionalism into some kind of cash market for offices.....

The central government takes this very seriously and wants to stop it, but who knows....

Something else to keep in mind is because land is collective owned, any effort to sell land is going to meet with the resistance of the entire village.

I have read suggestions to change the land tenure system to invididually owned lots. I don't think that this is a good idea since the consequence of this is that local governments will be able to pick off the lots one by one instead of having to face the entire village.
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