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Social Engagement Politics of Township Government: A Survey on 20 Townships in 10 Provinces


By Zhao Shukai

When township leaders met with each other and talked about their working experience, many would complain that there are too many meetings, too many documents, too many reports, and too many receptions and inspections. Township leaders are so busy with social engagements that they often feel at a loss what to do. In this article, the above-mentioned issues mentioned by the township leaders are referred to as social engagement. Although township governments’ work shows creative performance and achievement, these social engagement activities do constitute an important part of township governments’ working experience. People could get a better understanding of the character of the government work at this level through their working experience. The work of any government would inevitably involve meetings, documents, reports and inspections as well as social engagements. The problem is whether current onerous social engagements are reasonable or not. Although every official is criticizing the inundation of social engagements, the number of social engagements is not at all reduced. Social engagements would lead to formalism and even induce fraud. Corruption, mistrust and mutual recriminations are resulted from social engagements. To deal with these problems brought by social engagements, the central government issued a number of rules to curb relevant social engagements. Prohibitions are surely important, but the most important thing is how to improve government operating mechanism. Primarily speaking, these delinquent conducts are derived from government operating system.

Note: The article was first published in Economy and Management Digest, 2006 No.12.


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