Wang Changjiang (王长江):The Source of Discontent in Ordinary People Toward Cadres

2008090809094756The following excerpts are from an article on Xinhua Net, published on July 1, 2009, and translated by CDT:

At 10 am on July 1st, 2009, Professor Wang Changjiang, who is also the director of the Party Building Teaching and Research Department of the Central Party School and director of the Center for the Comparative Study of World Political Parties of the Central Party School, came to Xinhua Net as a guest, interacting with netizens on the topic of the accomplishments of institution-building by the Party over the last 30 years of reform and opening.

2009年7月1日上午10时,中央党校党建教研部主任、中央党校世界政党比较研究中心主任、教授、博导王长江做客新华网,就改革开放30年来党的制度建设成就与网友在线交流。

Wang Changjiang: Therefore I want to emphasize here: Democracy is very important. In what way do we say that democracy is important? We have just discussed the problem of cadres at length. On the issue of the problem of cadres, we must expand our democracy. Think about it, why are ordinary people sometimes discontented with our cadres? Why sometimes even when cadres get something done they are evaluated very differently [in the eyes of ordinary people]?

From a cadre’s perspective, we can say we are really doing things for the people. But ordinary people may think our work is just a show. It is a show for superiors in order to get promoted. This creates a dilemma: To do something is wrong, and not to do anything is also wrong. Why?

To put it blatantly, this is because the way you got your power puts you in a position where you cannot speak. [From the people's perspective,] since I did not give you power, therefore you can not represent me. He does not genuinely identify with your power.

In this situation, no matter how hard you worked and how much you accomplished, the ordinary people still do not identify with you. For people who study political science, this is called low political legitimacy.

Then how can we increase our political legitimacy? The most important thing is to let them (ordinary people) to be in charge.

[王长江] 所以我这里要强调:民主是非常重要的。那么这个民主重要在什么地方呢?刚才我们讨论了半天的干部问题,干部问题上民主必须不断地扩大。你想想,老百姓为什么有时候对我们的干部不满意?为什么甚至有的时候这个干部做了一件事情有各种不同的评价。我从自己的角度去跟你说,我确实是在给老百姓做事,但是老百姓可能觉得你是在做秀,你搞政绩工程,就使得你做也不是、不做也不是。为什么呢?说穿了就是因为你的权力的获得没有发言权,反正不是我给你的权,你代表不了我。他从心里上有一种不认同的感觉,在这样一种不认同的情况下,你工作做得再多、再辛苦,他(老百姓)的认同性还是很低的。就是我们研究政治学的人常说的政治合法性是低的。那么怎么加强我们的政治合法性?最重要的就是让他们(老百姓)来作主。