Date
19 August 2017
A typical entourage for a communist bureaucrat includes a driver, security personnel and personal assistants. Photo: Xinhua
A typical entourage for a communist bureaucrat includes a driver, security personnel and personal assistants. Photo: Xinhua

Cadres without nannies: What life is like in the real world

A veteran mainland journalist once said that a party chief of a county in Zhejiang province walked no more than 600 steps a day.

That can happen when your driver is waiting outside your house before you wake up, you’re whisked door-to-door to work, you have a private elevator in your office and your meals are served at your desk.  

And having done that, you simply retrace your steps back and do the whole thing again the next morning.

Not anymore.

Since a withering crackdown by Chinese President Xi Jinping on official excess and corruption, Communist Party cadres of all ranks have had their wings clipped and privileges whittled.

And since last month, officials lower than deputy ministers have had their government-issue cars taken away. Instead, they will receive a travel allowance of 500 yuan (US$81.15) to 1,000 yuan a month. No more drivers or personal assistants.

We can only imagine what life might be like for these party functionaries who can’t function on their own.

It’s said minions catered to every little aspect of their lives — from pushing the elevator button, swiping the hotel key card, ordering meals, taking care of laundry and making phone calls — they had lost some motor skills.

So-called cadre “nannies” also handled secret hotel bookings for their philandering bosses and received bribes on their behalf.

It looks like these cadres are only now getting used to their new reality.

One had a hard time at a subway ticket vending machine and another struggled with a handful of documents on a copier. Then there was the spectacle of the party boss who could not type on a computer, according to Southern Weekend.

It’s all part of a legacy of pampering — and exploitation of political position — that has remained hidden from the public until now.

In the bad old days, these officials did nothing more than attend meetings and deliver speeches – more precisely, read aloud notes prepared by their assistants.

Yet, their demise as privileged members of the ruling elite merely scratches the surface of an entrenched system that continues to cater to top party members and retired senior cadres.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]

RA

EJ Insight writer

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