In 2013, China’s Communist Party disciplinary organs received an eye-popping 1.95 million citizen complaints about officials. This is a 49.2 percent jump from 2012, according to a Jan. 13 report from state-run website China News Online — but surprisingly, the article did not evince displeasure with the total, calling 2013′s anti-corruption efforts “the strongest in 30 years.”
The piece puts this down to a combination of the crackdown on ‘rumours’ in the wider Sinosphere with the opening of an official website for complaints against officials.
Interceptors, black jails and kindred abuses aside, the whole petitioning system - with its ‘offices of letters and visits’ always struck me as a weird feudal holdover from the Imperial period, perhaps lasting because of its general authoritarian utility. But put a snazzy website in front of the whole thing and suddenly you have something which looks a lot like a modern corporate customer care policy. Perhaps the two things aren’t so different.
I would guess also that Xi’s ongoing rectification efforts are stimulating complaints by offering a more plausible prospect that something might be done about them. It’s sort of like those supermarket loyalty cards where joining gets you entry into a free prize draw, except that the prize is a nontrivial chance of revenge against junior officials rather than a slightly out of date ipad.
Elsewhere in tigers and flies news here’s some cadre porn, and here’s the tale of the former PLA logistics chief who parlayed military land into his own personal property development empire, amid which he hunkered down with crates of fancy booze and golden statues of Mao.