KUNMING, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Manufacturers the world over recall their products over safety concerns. In China, a similar system is being rolled out to tackle "faulty" cadres.
The program, which focuses on local-level officials accused of inaction, is being tested in several provinces, including Guizhou, Hubei and Yunnan. Thousands of officials have already been pulled from their posts for re-training.
Zhang Xu was an official with the environmental protection bureau of Weixin County, southwest China's Yunnan Province. He was part of a poverty-relief team for the village of Heba, Weixin, in 2016, but "failed to understand the urgency of poverty-relief tasks" during the initial stage, according to the bureau.
"Zhang was running between the bureau and the village to make up for work not done at the bureau," according to the bureau. "He also spent much time 'wandering around' instead of helping villagers out of poverty."
Zhang ranked among the bottom five in a "comprehensive evaluation," and was recalled to review his role.
Like Zhang, Chen Gongyou was also an official in Weixin. He, too, was recalled, as despite his substantial experience at the local level, Chen was also an alcoholic.
Chen was often drunk, and would often drink with the residents, which "tarnished his image" and his reputation as an official, according to the local government.
"I thought as long as I don't go against the 'eight-point rules,' I would be fine," said Xiao Hua, secretary of the Xinglong Township Committee of the Communist Party of China in Guizhou Province. The eight-point code of conduct was introduced by the central government in 2012 to reduce bureaucracy and boost ties with the public.
Xiao was recalled for re-training after the local government found him unfamiliar with the agricultural conditions of Xinglong.
"Being recalled is a time for self-reflection," Xiao Hua said.
In Yunnan, the recall program usually involves re-training, "criticism and education," talks, and, should no progress be made, demotion or removal. By the end of August, 2016, 1,117 "problematic" officials had been recalled. Anyone who ranks in the bottom five in the quarterly evaluation must be recalled.
In Hubei's Huanggang, the city government issued a guideline in 2015, listing 37 situations when officials will be recalled.
"I think such programs are an innovative way of evaluating grassroots officials," said Xu Xing, a professor with the Zhou Enlai School of Government of Nankai University. "By borrowing the product-recall concept, the programs help address the issue of lazy and incapable officials."
"The programs provide a new way to strengthen supervision and management over local officials," said Wu Jiang, dean of the Chinese Academy of Personnel Science.
The current mechanism still has room for improvement.
Yang Ling, a government official of Yunnan's Weixin County, said the program could reduce enthusiasm.
"In Yunnan, the last five officials in the quarterly evaluation should be recalled, but there should be more to the system than this," Yang said. "If all the officials have done their best at work, only the last five will still be recalled; what about all the other officials who failed? Where is their punishment?"
Wang Libing, an anti-corruption official with Huanggang City, said that unlike other discipline punishments, which are issued based on a set of specific rules, the cadre-recall program is still at an early stage and the standards are not yet set in stone.
Bao Jian, a poverty-relief official in Yunnan, said that the recall program has worked like an alarm for local-level officials; alerting them to the fact that they are responsible that the work they are assigned is properly done.