Lead­ing by ex­am­ple

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

WHY HAS THE PARTY LEAD­ER­SHIP BOTH­ered about the seem­ingly small mat­ter of of­fi­cials’ smok­ing habits, to the ex­tent that it is­sued a no­tice on Sun­day re­quir­ing of­fi­cials not to smoke in pub­lic venues, when it might be thought to have big­ger fish to fry?

Be­cause such triv­ial mat­ters have wider reper­cus­sions, and re­quir­ing of­fi­cials to set an ex­am­ple by not smok­ing in pub­lic can make a big dif­fer­ence when it comes to how of­fi­cials, lead­ing of­fi­cials in par­tic­u­lar, be­have in pub­lic and how peo­ple per­ceive them.

Those who might be pro­moted to lead­ing po­si­tions should have moral in­tegrity, ac­cord­ing to the cri­te­ria set for of­fi­cial pro­mo­tion, and in the mind’s eye of the pub­lic, they should be role mod­els.

How­ever, re­ports of some of­fi­cials keep­ing mis­tresses, em­bez­zling pub­lic money and lead­ing ex­trav­a­gant life­styles us­ing pub­lic money have cre­ated a bad im­pres­sion, and a few rot­ten ap­ples have spoilt the bar­rel.

To deepen re­form in all ar­eas for the coun­try’s sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and so­cial progress, it is of ut­most im­por­tance that of­fi­cials, those in lead­ing po­si­tions in par­tic­u­lar, are paragons of virtue as re­quired by the cri­te­ria for be­ing a true Party mem­ber and gov­ern­ment em­ployee.

To a large ex­tent, rec­ti­fy­ing the be­hav­ior of of­fi­cials is an in­te­gral part of the crack­down on cor­rup­tion and the cam­paign should help cul­ti­vate the aware­ness that those in of­fi­cial po­si­tions should al­ways be­have in an ex­em­plary man­ner and ob­serve the laws.

In 2013, the Party cen­tral com­mit­tee pub­lished a se­ries of don’t-dos for of­fi­cials and Party mem­bers, in­clud­ing not vis­it­ing pri­vate clubs and not hold­ing ex­trav­a­gant burial cer­e­monies for rel­a­tives.

The top lead­er­ship has ob­vi­ously re­al­ized that all Party and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials must first have moral in­tegrity if they are to be re­spected.

It is im­pos­si­ble for a per­son who has no idea of how to be­have in the cor­rect man­ner to be a clean and hon­est of­fi­cial. It is equally unimag­in­able that or­di­nary cit­i­zens will be­have them­selves when some of­fi­cials, even some lead­ers, set a bad ex­am­ple by main­tain­ing the priv­i­lege of ex­empt­ing them­selves from rules.

Many lo­cal­i­ties have an­nounced a ban on smok­ing in pub­lic venues in­clud­ing of­fice build­ings. If of­fi­cials, lead­ers in par­tic­u­lar, still smoke in their of­fices or other pub­lic venues, or­di­nary peo­ple will fol­low their ex­am­ple and flout the ban, which un­der­mines the cred­i­bil­ity of the law and the gov­ern­ment.

The be­hav­ior of of­fi­cials, es­pe­cially lead­ers, has much to do with the build­ing of a civ­i­lized so­ci­ety.

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