Sunday, May 16, 2010

Say What You Mean

Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to lead China from 2012, is breathing some fresh air into the Chinese Communist Party -- by urging government officials to get rid of "empty words" and political jargon in speeches and documents, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

When many government officials make speeches, it's more about length than substance; they seem to be filled with platitudes and not much else.

Earlier this week, Xi urged over 900 officials and students at the Central Committee's Party School to study party theory and also learn from ancient Chinese literature to simplify their writing.

He said that the content of the speeches or documents should have "substance" and that "unhealthy writing" could lead to inefficiency.

That's because a lot of time is spent trying to figure out what things like the "theory of the three represents" and "scientific outlook on development" means and how they relates to their own situation or applies to a certain issue.

The "three represents" is a saying from Jiang Zemin, about open party membership, while the latter is from President Hu Jintao, promoting sustainable economic development that doesn't have much to do with science.

Perhaps this is Xi's way of trying to show that he is concerned about being more in touch with the masses again, and make it easier for the public to understand what the government is saying.

If officials really do follow up on his suggestion, this could lead to a revolution of sorts in terms of government transparency -- for once governments at all levels will have to really say what they mean.

And this could mean officials giving record-setting short speeches! Perhaps this also means no more TV shots of party members falling asleep either. Drat.

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