Never Judge a Cadre on GDP Alone, Xi Says

Xinhua News reports that Chinese president Xi Jinping said the Communist Party should use “more comprehensive criteria” – beyond economic performance – to evaluate the performance of Communist Party officials:

The Communist Party of China (CPC) should adopt more comprehensive criteria for assessing the performance of its officials, said Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, at a meeting on the work of personnel resources on the eve of the 92nd founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

It should consider a local official’s work in various aspects including people’s livelihood, the development of local society and the quality of environment.

“We should never judge a cadre simply by the growth of gross domestic product (GDP),” he said.

With weak June manufacturing data stirring fears of a further pullback in growth during the second half of the year, and Bloomberg News says Xi’s comments indicate that “policy makers are ready to tolerate slower economic expansion,” according to Bloomberg:

“Xi is further legitimizing the case for slower growth,” said Andy Mantel, chief executive officer of Pacific Sun Advisors, an asset manager in Hong Kong that invests in Chinese stocks. “It is important to let local government officials know there is less importance of non-stop economic growth. There will be less pressure for local government officials to pump up their economic growth forecasts.” [Source]

Xi’s remarks also follow comments made in April about the need to balance its priorities between pursuing high economic growth and curbing environmental degradation. Local officials often find themselves pressured from superiors to create prosperous economic conditions while at the same time satisfying the public that the route to that prosperity doesn’t endanger their welfare, even though that often requires cozying up to environmentally unfriendly industries.