By Tom Bannister
The Chinese civil service is famous for its size, history, complexity and, at times, efficiency. It is less famous for its free-market, enterprising dynamism. Bucking this trend, the Guangzhou Daily reports that a civil servant from the Guangdong city of Shenzhen has been fired for managing an online business from her office.
Mrs Lin Manjia from Chaozhou, another city in Guangdong, was fired from Shenzhen’s Luohu district Human Resources and Social Security Bureau after an investigation confirmed that she had been running a Taobao business (similar to eBay) for three years during office hours. It also confirmed that she was using the office phone and address as her contact details.
The story broke a few days ago after netizens linked the phone numbers. Local journalists questioned the government office about the allegations and officials began an investigation into exactly how Mrs Lin spent her work-time. On Thursday the district government released a statement via Weibo that read:
“The employee Lin Manjia ran a Taobao store during office hours, registered in her own name. She also used the office address and phone number as her contact details for her online business. According to regulations we have decided to terminate her contract. We hope that after today we can move forward and strengthen the supervision and training of our employees, so that we can provide society with a better service”
When journalists interviewed Mrs Lin, she said that her civil service job involved her aiding the self-employed in the local area. She claimed that she had opened her Taobao shop to gain experience in self-employment so that she could do her (official) job better.