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【四川汶川强地震】华盛顿邮报 中国地方官员的新考验

排行榜 收藏 打印 发给朋友 举报 来源: 美国《华盛顿邮报》   发布者:Jill Drew
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  民众遵令撤离到白云洞(BAIYUNDONG)。在泄洪的时候,沈远峰(音译,Shen Yuanfeng)的职责就是确保辖区民众安全安置。

  地震之前作为政府管理人员的沈远峰巡视布满数千帐篷的区域,检查问题。正当她制止一家新住户推挤另一家的帐篷时,她的手机响了。在她把手机放到耳边的时候,一名妇女跑了过来,“有个刚来的老人看起来情况不怎么好。赶紧!”于是她边听手机边跟着那位妇女跑开了。

  传统上,人们认为地方官员游手好闲,只晓得摆弄文件而且常常腐败。但如今,他们承担着在地震后保证民众安全、满足民众需求并为民众的提问提供真实答案的职责。在中国,共产党“为人民服务”的誓言长期以来被很多人视为空洞的口号,但如今那些地方官员的作用令人吃惊。

  32岁的马艳春(音译,Ma Yanqun)表示,“以前,我从来不注意政府的表现。现在干部们在挖厕所。我觉得他们在切实做好工作。”

  512地震、余震、即将发生的洪水,让数百万人陷入混乱。四川省当局30日下令民众撤离,给当地官员带来压力。在中国这次大灾中,他们冲在紧急救援第一线。

  政府宣传不断告诉灾区民众要“信任政府”的灾后处理。绵阳很多人已经没有什么选择的余地。他们已经失去了亲人、家园和生计。

  但为了让他们对政府的信任持续下去,地方官员必须履行照顾民众的承诺。

  赵园秀(音译,Zhao Yuanxiu)表示,她感到肩上的担子沉甸甸。在地震以前,她在涪城区(Fucheng)政府整理劳工数据。如今,她每天早晨8点和其他政府工作人员一起集合,接受任务。对她而言,最糟糕的是不知道问题的答案。“人们每天都问我‘政府什么时候帮我们重建家园?’‘政府的政策是什么?’‘我们下一步怎么办?’那些问题我回答不了,因为我不知道答案。”

  清华大学公共管理学院教授任建明(Ren Jianming)表示,“灾后重建对地方政府的形象而言是一个转折点。腐败太容易发生,而且过去已经发生那么多腐败。”

  已经有超过三百名稽查员被派往四川监督开支,而且国家官员发誓要严惩那些收受贿赂允许那些不合格材料流入重建进程的人们。大约9000名学龄儿童死于倒塌的学校,家长们正谴责地方官员对不合格建筑视而不见。

  人民大学公共管理教授毛寿龙(Mao Shoulong)表示,让个人为失误负责有助于建立公众信任,教育部门并不腐败,但可能有腐败的官员,学校倒塌的责任应该具体到个人。

  在处理洪水疏散时,地方共产党官员试图强调个人责任感。涪城区外事办公室的官员杨祝梅(音译,Yang Zhumei)发放共产党徽章,以识别所有成员。她说,“共产党员要在前线。人们会看着你。你必须帮助其他人。你必须负责。”

英文原文:

For China's Local Officials, a New Test

Often Dismissed as Remiss or Corrupt, Bureaucrats Now Find Themselves The Main Caretakers for Quake Victims

By Jill Drew
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, May 31, 2008; Page A08

BAIYUNDONG EVACUATION POINT, China, May 30 -- Eleven thousand people were ordered to evacuate to this mountain slope in a matter of hours on Friday. With floodwaters to be diverted through the valley below, it was Shen Yuanfeng's job to make sure those from her community settled in safely.

Shen, who worked as a government administrator of her neighborhood before the quake, walked a field that was sprouting thousands of tents, looking for problems. Just as she stopped one newly arriving family from pushing their way into another's tent, her cellphone rang. She was putting the phone to her ear when a woman ran up. "An old person just arrived and they don't look so good. Do something!"

Shen rushed off with the woman, the cellphone still glued to her ear.

Traditionally dismissed as do-nothing, often-corrupt paper pushers, local functionaries are now bearing the responsibility for keeping people safe following this month's earthquake, anticipating their needs and getting real answers to their questions. Their role has been striking in a country where the Communist Party's vow to "serve the people" has long been regarded by many as an empty slogan.

"Before, I never paid attention to government performance," Ma Yanqun, a 32-year-old evacuee, said as she sat on a plastic stool looking out on the Fujian River, waiting for its waters to rise. "Now, there are cadres digging toilets. I think they're doing a really good job."

Millions of lives have been thrown into chaos by the May 12 earthquake, its hundreds of aftershocks and now a planned flood to ease pressure on a damaged dam. On Friday, Sichuan provincial authorities ordered the evacuation of at least 40,000 more people from the path of the planned flood, bringing the total to almost 200,000 and adding to the pressure on local bureaucrats, who have been thrust to front lines of emergency rescue in China's biggest natural disaster in a generation.

Government propaganda has unceasingly told people in the quake zone to "trust the government" in how it manages the aftermath of the earthquake, which has left 80,000 dead or missing. Many here in Mianyang city have little choice. They have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods.

But for their faith in government to endure, local officials must deliver on the promise that people will be taken care of.

"I feel so much pressure on my shoulders," Zhao Yuanxiu said as she stood next to her own makeshift tent along the evacuation route, pitched on a bluff overlooking the river. Before the earthquake, Zhao compiled labor statistics for the Fucheng district government. Now, she assembles with other government employees in front of the town hall at 8 every morning to get a mission for the day. On Thursday, it was to give out guidelines about the Tangjiashan Lake evacuation. On other days, it is to distribute food or answer relief questions.

The worst for her is when she doesn't have answers -- not for those who ask or for herself. "People ask me every day: 'When and how will the government help us rebuild our houses?' 'What is the government's policy?' 'What should we do next?' Those questions I cannot answer because I haven't gotten an answer," Zhao said.

Zhao knows how the anxiety gnaws. Her 70-year-old mother-in-law despairs of being able to pay her granddaughter's school tuition, now that her home and farm were destroyed in the quake. The mother-in-law, Jiang Changying, has taken care of the 10-year-old girl since she was 3 and her father and mother, Zhao's sister, left Sichuan as migrant workers.

"It's going to be really miserable," Jiang said. "I have no money and no house."

The government in Beijing and private donors are sending billions of dollars of aid and reconstruction cash into the province, and that sets up another challenge for local officials: resisting temptations to take for themselves, temptations to which many before have succumbed.

"Rebuilding after the earthquake could be a turning point for local government's image," said Ren Jianming, a professor at the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University. "Corruption so easily happens and used to happen so much."

More than 300 auditors have been dispatched to Sichuan to watch over the spending, and national officials vow to be merciless with those caught stealing or taking bribes to allow substandard materials to be used in rebuilding. Local officials are being blamed by parents of the estimated 9,000 schoolchildren who died when their classrooms collapsed around them during the earthquake, burying them in the rubble. The parents allege that corrupt officials turned a blind eye to substandard construction.

Mao Shoulong, a professor of public administration at Renmin University, said holding individuals responsible for failures helps build public trust. "The education department is not corrupted, but there may be a corrupt education department official," Mao said. "The responsibilities of collapsed school buildings should be specified and allocated to individuals."

Local Communist Party officials are attempting to underscore that sense of personal responsibility as they manage the flood evacuation. Yang Zhumei, an official with Fucheng district's foreign affairs office, was handing out Communist Party lapel pins to identify all members as the district's command center was evacuating its equipment and personnel to the mountains.

"Communist Party members are on the front lines," she said, as she attached her own pin. "People will watch you. You have to help other people. You have to be responsible."

The evacuation, which has been taking place in stages over the past several days, threatened to create havoc in Mianyang city, located north of the provincial capital of Chengdu. One man said he did not think twice, just grabbed a quilt and a tarp and ran to his evacuation point about 20 minutes up a hill from his village, when he got his notice May 22. "They said the flood could come anytime," said the man, who would not give his name.

In recent days, local officials have been more measured and informed when they tell people they have to leave. Luo Yuhua, 77, sat calmly Thursday afternoon under a leaking tarp strung between bamboo poles along a main highway, fingering the evacuation notice she had just been handed.

"The government told me a tent has been set up over the mountain and they have prepared sausages, noodles and rice," she said. She was told that she did not have to leave right away but that someone on a motorbike would ride up the highway banging a gong when the time came to go, signaling it would be four or five hours before the floodwaters reached her area in Longmen town.

Luo had every confidence she would not be left behind to face the flood. "The government can control this," she said.

Cheng Ju, 34, a reserve soldier guarding a path to a low-lying village to prevent children and the elderly from entering a danger zone, said the motto of his unit is "Leave the small family, take care of the big family."

Shen, the community administrator, knows what he means. "I never had time to take care of my family" after the earthquake, she said, pausing. "When I say that, I want to cry."

Zhao also feels the stress. Her one comfort is that when she returns home to her family's tarp each night, her husband brings her a basin of fresh water to wash her face and feet. She said: "I am very touched by that."

TAG: 地震 腐败 官员 四川 汶川 中国
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