1st Edition

China's Civil Service Reform

By Wang Xiaoqi Copyright 2012
    208 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    A market economy and a more liberal society have brought great challenges to China’s outdated governance structure and personnel management. To improve decision-making in government and reshape the management system in face of a more complex economy, post-Mao authorities have implemented a number of administrative reforms, including civil service reform which emphasized on selecting and promoting public officials based on their capability and work performance. Thousands of positions have been filled since the civil service system was implemented nationwide in 1993. The Chinese civil service reform is of far-reaching significance because it had the potential to be a departure from the established structure of cadre personnel management system developed in the 1950s. However, after several years of policy development, scholars observe that the new reforms have done little to undermine the old cadre system. Is this true? Or does this conclusion over-simplify the complicated implementation of the reforms?

    This book examines the implementation and performance of the on-going civil service reforms in China. Using the principal-agent framework, the author draw upon key case studies showing how the reforms affect civil servants’ incentives and behavior in the local context and the Chinese leadership’s control over the bureaucracy. China’s reform experience speaks directly to many Asian countries facing urgent need to improve state capacity as the global financial crisis unfolds.

    1. Introduction  2. Civil Service Scope, Structure and Context for Reforms  3. Civil Service Reform Policy and Implementation  4. Local Implementation of Civil Service Reforms  5. Control of the Bureaucracy and Reform Outcomes  6. Implications for Asian Developing Countries  7. Conclusion


    Wang Xiaoqi is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include Chinese politics, public governance and management, coordination and collaboration, comparative public policy, and state-society relations. Her article appeared in The China Quarterly and International Social Science Journal.

    "This is an exceptional book which provides an in-depth analysis of China’s civil service reform in recent decades. Drawing on first-hand data sources, the book points out that civil service reform, vital to economic and human development in China, has achieved some desired goals such as improved transparency, accountability, and participation, though the improvements are confined within the bureaucracy... Knowledge of the complexities of civil service reform will enhance our understanding of the dynamics and dilemma of China’s economic and political reforms. Timely and in great depth, China’s Civil Service Reform is a ground-breaking scholarly work on civil service governance in China. It is essential reading for students and scholars who are interested in civil service and political reforms in China." 
    Alfred M. Wu, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China; China Information 2013.

    "This book offers a strong balance and conversation between the theoretical and the specific case of China. Concepts and ideas from principal-agent theory are well utilized to discuss the many issues originating from the case example of China that were unanticipated or unintended in the policy design, and thus, this book would be a welcome addition to both a course on public personnel management and a course on Chinese politics."
    Chow Bing Ngeow,  University of Malaya
    Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2015 355-356