China’s communist party (CCP) is revamping its way to select its cadres, asking for capabilities rather than connections, writes assistant professor Victor Shih in his weblog.

According to a new initiative of Hu Jintao, cadre promotion is now tied to an official’s ability to handle sudden shocks, like earthquakes. The problem in the past is that performance was tied to things that good connections can get you, like growth or investment. Thus, those performance indicators really did not test how capable an official was, just how connected he was.

Problematic performance during the earthquake in Sichuan and incidents in Tibet and Xinjiang by a part of the communist cadres has triggered off the new policies, writes Shih.

Victor Shih is a speakers at the China Speakers Bureau. Are you interested in having him at one of your conferences? Do let us know.

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