BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese official publicly denied Friday rumors of an exodus of bureaucrats from the civil service following reports of widespread discontent over poor working conditions and an anti-corruption drive.
Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security spokesman Li Zhong told reporters that some resignations were to be expected but nothing unusual had been detected.
"Judging from statistical figures and our surveys at some central governmental agencies, there is no noticeable surge in the number of civil servants leaving their posts," Li said at a news conference.
Such comments from government spokesmen are extremely rare and appear to show the authorities are seriously concerned about falling morale among civil servants. A revered institution since imperial times, the Chinese civil service's perks and near unassailable job security have faded in attractiveness amid a burgeoning private sector in a trend now seen as accelerating.
Recent reports and surveys show Chinese are turning away from once-high coveted civil service jobs because of heavy workloads and low pay.
Many are also believed to fear being caught up in the anti-corruption campaign, which has removed a key incentive for those who abuse their positions for personal gain.
One recent survey showed resignations of bureaucrats this year had risen 34 percent over the same period last year, while a popular headhunting website this month said it had listings for 10,000 civil servants looking to change jobs.
Registrations for the annual civil service exam have also fallen in many provinces, while about one in three people who signed up last year eventually skipped the test.
China has about 10 million civil servants arranged in a strict hierarchy who are overseen by the ruling Communist Party.