So you wanna be a 'civil' servant?

By Wang Hongyi (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-04-21 08:38
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SHANGHAI - Civil servants will soon be expected to be just that: civil.

Watching blue movies, having extramarital affairs, failing to do what is righteous, vandalizing public facilities all are on a new list of no-no's for public servants in Nantong, East China's Jiangsu province.

"Though civil servants generally do well with their professional affairs, we still find some individuals behave improperly when out of the office, which creates a bad impression on society," Chen Juexin, director of the civil servants affairs department of the Nantong human resource and social security bureau, was quoted as saying by Yangtze Evening News.

There are about 23,000 civil servants in Nantong. The current evaluation system for civil servants focuses on professional achievements, which put less emphasis on morality.

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However, the new regulation adds assessments for morality and standard of conduct, as well as for social and family responsibilities, and personal qualities.

A total of 40 immoral acts have been proscribed in the regulation, such as "being rude and arrogant to citizens", "online gaming, brokering and chatting during office hours" and "dining on public funds".

More eye-catching - so to speak - is its ban on "viewing, collecting or circulating pornographic publications or making sex phone calls" and "violating moral standards such as abusing the elderly and having extramarital affairs".

The regulation immediately aroused heated discussion online on Wednesday.

Netizens who welcomed the regulation said public servants ought to be bound by a stricter code of conduct than ordinary people, even when they are off work.

Others questioned whether the regulation has "meddled too much in the private lives of public servants".

In response, Chen said: "Public servants are the practitioners of government policies and represent the image of the Party and government. So the requirement on them should be higher than on ordinary people."

Chen said public servants will be penalized if they violate the regulation, which will be used for their annual evaluation.

The city government has publicized telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to encourage reporting by the public, he said.