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Survival Strategies of Different Townships


Zhao Shukai, Development Research Center of the State Council

As China's rural tax-for-fees reform keeps deepening, some problems of township fiscal crisis gradually emerge. If these deep-seated problems fail to be resolved properly, it will definitely dent normal operation of community-level organs of state power, or even delay the realization of the goal of building an overall well-off society. In face of the same fiscal crisis, responses of different township governments and township officials may vary. Survival strategies of township governments can be generally divided into the following categories: 1. Some take a wait-and-see attitude and this is the way of life for many townships. 2. Some take the approach of repositioning redundant officials or let the majority of personnel have holidays or holidays in disguise and both with pay. Such a survival approach is in nature a kind of township decision made on its own. 3. Some township officials take a self-rescue approach by making joint efforts to tide over difficulties. Consequently some cadres would leave the government and get engaged in production or business and they are no longer government cadres or officials. 4. Some try to get subsidy or special loans from senior county, municipality or province-level government and some attempt to get money from local people. For rural development, responsive actions by the township government in dilemma include both constructive and destructive behavior. Two decisions are infeasible under the current situation: the first is to abruptly revoke the township government and send officials home; the second is to have upper-level government render generous financial support to the township government. Therefore, giving money externally cannot substitute internal reform. While the government launches relevant public project constructions, it should strengthen systematic innovation per se.

Survival Strategies of Different Townships