The Annual Chinese Public Service Exam once again stirred the restless heart of young Chinese people. 20,000 jobs, over 1,8 million candidates, an average of 90 candidates per job, and rumour has it that some popular jobs have over a thousand candidates. At the same time, the nation’s media add to the confusion, and seems to lead every Chinese citizen into applying for the public service. Among the nearly two hundred countries in the world today, few or very few experience such fever as China around public service exams. In some countries, some national media don’t even understand where that fever came from. Why has ‘public service fever’ flourished in China? Why are Chinese youths, and especially the brightest of our youth, so eager to apply for the public service? Is such fever good or bad for the country and the nation?
Two expressions which widely circulated on the web recently are very representative. Ou Zhenzhi, from Guangdong, director of the Social Council Chamber, said: “It is a good thing that so many university students are taking the public service exams, this will help further improve the quality of the public service.” But the former Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau Deputy Director Du Shao Zhong said: “A good man cannot be a public servant, it spoils the good in them; and a bad man cannot be a public servant either, because they spoil the people.” These two diametrically opposite statements both come from the mouth of public servants, both leading cadres in the public service, one working, one retired, one working with people, one with technology – so what does this reveal? Neither of them sounds wrong, both seem to make sense, but to think of it carefully, this is a national tragedy.
What is a public servant? Simply put, it is a person who takes charge of public affairs, a so-called public ‘servant’. According to the introduction on Baidu, “a public servant 是指依法履行公职、纳入国家行政编制、由国家财政负担工资福利的工作人员。” The expression “public servant” is an exotic import to China, but as it came into China, it was transformed, and turned into “public servants with Chinese characteristics”. And the greatest manifestation of these characteristics is the use of the word “official” 官. And the ‘fever’ is precisely a result of these ‘special characteristics’. One, “public servants” with Chinese characteristics are both in charge of making public policy and of implementing it, 这样的公务员天生地带有特权；2, 中国特色“公务员”是政、事不分，therefore, to be a government official, first you must be a public servant; 3, “public servants” with Chinese characteristics receive little supervision, and so once in power, their opportunities for rent-seeking are endless; 4, “public servants” with Chinese characteristics have their own custom-made policy, and therefore receive better benefits than other industries. Considering these factors, ‘public service fever’ in our country is very normal. And we can say that if we put these characteristics in any country, then it would face the same “fever” that China is experiencing, because this is what human nature dictates; the only difference is that no other nation gives so many “privileges” to its public servants.
The development and progress of a country and a nation come from creativity, it comes from continuous innovation in the political, economic, scientific, technological, cultural, and other domains. Creativity and innovation rely on talented people, and therefore, talented people should go to the industries that most contribute to development and progress, and should be in positions which are at the forefront of social development and progress. Developing innovation is a characteristic of young people, and also an area where young people have expertise. If outstanding young people cannot use their wisdom and talent in positions at the forefront of social development, if they cannot and cannot make a contribution in the most creative and innovative sectors, it is the greatest waste of talent, and also a crime against humanity. According to statistics, 76.4% of Chinese graduates are willing to work as public servants, whereas the number is 3% in the United States, 5.3% in France, and 7.2% in Singapore. In Japan, fewer people want to embrace the public service than bakery or carpentry; in the UK, the public service is considered as one of the 20 most disgusting professions. Human nature will inevitably lead people to the choice of a profession based on the desire to seek profit, and so from this principle, since the benefits of a public service career in China are far greater than they are in market-oriented and developed countries; this also results in a large number of talented people entering the public service, and also leads to a lack of talented people going towards creative and innovation sectors, which is also the primary cause for the lack of creativity and innovation in our country. The civil service, to put it bluntly, is just a service industry, and its essence is to provide service for all of society, to oversee the market according to legal regulations, to prevent monopoly in accordance with the principle of fairness, and to maintain order in accordance with economic laws. In order to be a public servant, you do not need creative talent, you do not need creative ability: you just need to mind the public good, to be warm hearted, and caring, and you qualify to be a public servant, you can take on the duty. The public service does not require genius, and it should not employ genius; even less should it do everything possible to recruit genius. Otherwise, it is wasting talent, and socially irresponsible.
The Chinese public service application fever has also attracted some criticism, 但其目标却大多指向报考的年轻人，有说报考者虚荣，有说报考者图安逸，又有说社会就业压力大别无选择，还有说官本位思想严重，等等。Strictly speaking, all of these phenomenons occur, But these problems are not the root of the public service fever in China. People are animal with desire, when people choose their career in a particular environment, 首先考虑的是理想最大化，如果当社会把本应四通八达实现理想之路堵死的时，那么留下一条通道必然成为人们别无选择的唯一。I remember at the beginning of the reform and opening up, China’s political and economic reforms went in leaps and bounds, and at that time, the public service was seen as an insignificant career, and in the South of China, this joke circulated to motivate children to study more: if you don’t work hard at school, then you’ll be a public servant when you grow up. Today’s young people caught in the public service fever couldn’t understand or imagine that these words reflected actual social conditions, and would not believe that the scene is real. All over the world, this is a universal phenomenon, when a country is politically just, economically prosperous, and culturally developed, the civil service career is one that few talented people care for, 有志之士大都流向高收入、创造性、创新性、富于挑战性的行业，流向于为社会发展、进步能够做出更大贡献的行业，流向能够流芳百世的行业。而当一个国家政治腐败、权力滥用、没有公平正义、没有创业环境时，人们便涌向权力集中的公务员队伍。前不久黑龙江省哈尔滨市招聘有事业编的环卫工，报名者居然挤破了门，而且65%以上具有大学本科和研究生学历，难道哈尔滨的研究生多到了要去扫大街的程度？其实答案是否的，大多是想拿这个事业编当跳板。When the educated youth of a country has reached this point, shouldn’t the country carefully think about the situation?
For the national public service examination, 1,8 million hot blooded young intellectuals competed. According to statistics, if we add up the number of candidates for the public service at regional and local level, there are nearly 5 million young educated people competing for the public service exams, and year after year, they fight in a bloody war, wasting their own youth and consuming it for a worthless cause. a direct consequence of the public service fever is the lack of talent in national innovation-oriented, entrepreneurial and creative industries, 国家创新血脉断流，国家创造力衰竭，国家最终面临的结局就是崩溃。
导致目前我国“公务员热”的根本原因是国家的制度出了问题，是国家深层次矛盾使然，要解决这一问题必须靠政治体制的改革，there must be a relaxed and orderly entrepreneurial environment, there must be fair competition at the social level, and the country’s public service system must be redesigned; otherwise, our nation will never become an innovation oriented country, and never be able to stand among the countries of the world.
- 25 April, 2013 @ 8:53 [Current Revision] by julien.leyre
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