Civil service law in the People's Republic of China : A return to cadre personnel management

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-398
Journal / PublicationPublic Administration Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


Despite the outward appearance of depoliticization, the civil service in China today is actually being repoliticized. This paper compares the 1993 Provisional Regulations on State Civil Servants with the Civil Service Law approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in April 2005. The 2005 reform formalized what had been a historical pattern - the Communist Party holds tight control over leadership change and management at various levels. The Civil Service Law has turned the Communist Party of China into a political institution that has become the source of both civil service empowerment and control. Although civil service reform in China differs markedly from approaches adopted elsewhere, China is clearly expanding its political control to ensure greater leverage over the bureaucracy. In this regard, China is in line with the global trend. That said, civil service reform in China has focused on structural elements and formal reorganizations, whereas most industrialized democracies have engaged in a dialectic between individualist and corporate responses to managerial questions. An understanding of the Chinese ability to adopt reforms - while strengthening its traditional hold - provides key perspectives not only on the world's largest nation and a rapidly emerging force in global political and economic relationships but also on the Chinese experience with important public sector reforms that have occurred in many other countries over recent decades. © 2007 The American Society for Public Administration.