Why is there such a big difference between the officials in ancient times and today?

Throughout the dynasties, there are old rules that are explicitly stated or agreed upon, which are called old systems, stories or allusions in history books, etc. Some old rules, to a certain extent, regulate the behavior of officials and restrain the proliferation of power.

There were such “old rules” in ancient times

The Song Dynasty had such old rules. Song Dynasty strictly restrain the power of officials, officials dare not enter the hotel to eat and drink.

In the Song Dynasty, although the capital city of Kaifeng catering industry is very developed, the hotel all over the streets and alleys, officials did not dare to enter the hotel to eat and drink, because once the officials in the hotel cups and goblets, regardless of public or private money, will immediately be impeached by the imperial court, either removed from office, or disciplinary action.

According to the record of “Return to the field”, Lu Zongdao, the teacher of the prince in the era of Song Zhenzong, once came to the guests in his hometown, because the Family did not have all the drinking utensils, had to change into civilian clothes, led the guests to the Renhe House Hotel, mixed in between the gentry, dodging. When he arrived at the palace late, Emperor Song Zhenzong rebuked him, “Why did you enter the restaurant privately?” He also said, “You are an official minister, so I am afraid you will be criticized by the imperial historian.” If Lu Zongdao hadn’t told the truth and hadn’t been so nice, he would have lost his position.

In the early Ming Dynasty, there was no corruption in the post stations, but in the middle and late Ming Dynasty, more and more people exploited the loopholes, and the post stations became more and more luxurious and lavish, and gradually became places for bribing officials, which aggravated the defeat of the Ming Dynasty.

Learning from the lessons of post corruption in the Ming dynasty, the Qing government stipulated that all Beijing officials who went to localities for inspection, supervision or official work had to pay for their own business trips, while local officials were not allowed to give banquets and gifts to officials on business trips.

The first official document issued by Lin Zexu, the minister who went to Guangdong to investigate opium, had nothing to do with opium, as it read: “All the officials should use only Home-cooked meals and not prepare a whole banquet, especially not a bird’s nest barbecue, in order to save money. This is not polite, do not violate the reason. To the accompanying butlers, are not allowed to secretly receive a share of the station rules, door bags and other items. If you need to ask for it, you need to report it, and if you send it privately, you will be specially punished. Words out of the law, each should strictly comply with not to violate.”

The “government to people ratio”: there is no such thing in the past and present

In 2021, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) disclosed that a county had a resident population of 30,200 in 2019, local fiscal revenue of 36.61 million yuan, general public budget expenditures of 865 million yuan, more than 120 administrative and social organizations, and more than 6,000 financial supporters, with a financial support ratio of 1:5. She suggested that merging small counties could reduce the waste of administrative resources.

According to the data published in the book “Analysis of China’s Third Population Census Data” (1987) published by China Financial and Economic Press, the ratio of officials to citizens in China during the Western Han Dynasty was 1:7945, about eight thousand people supporting one official; during the Tang Dynasty, it was 1:2927; during the Ming Dynasty, 1:2299; during the Qing Dynasty, 1:911, nine hundred people supporting one official.

Ren Yuling, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and a former counsellor of the State Council, said at the 10th Session of the CPPCC: “Our ratio of officials to people has long reached 1:26, which is 306 times higher than that of the Western Han Dynasty and 35 times higher than that of the late Qing Dynasty. The proportion of the total population that eats financial Food is climbing so fast that it is unprecedented and worrying!”

According to the Shanghai Securities News in 2006, Zhang Panorama, former head of the Communist Party’s Central Organization Department, said that one of the major drawbacks of Chinese politics now is that “many officials are a problem. There are 40 to 50 provincial-level cadres in a province, hundreds or even thousands of district-level cadres, and dozens of county-level cadres in a county, which can be said to be unprecedented in ancient and modern times. Not to mention a province, city in addition to the governor, mayor, there are eight or nine deputies, each with a secretary, and individual assistants. Now so many people not only increased the cost of expenditure, but also fostered bureaucracy.

It should be noted that the ratio of “government to people” is a publicly available ratio, that is, whether it is 1:5 or 1:26, it is something that can be seen on the surface.

The Secrets Beneath the Iceberg

For Chinese Communist Party officials, the “rats” that cannot be disclosed are the secrets hidden beneath the iceberg. For example, the “three public funds,” i.e., public food and drink, official vehicles and official trips abroad. On March 12, 2006, China Youth Daily quoted Liu Guangfu, then a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), as reporting that “the annual cost of public vehicles for private use by government officials at all levels amounts to more than 200 billion yuan. On October 31 of that year, the weekly magazine Outlook reported that officials spent 370 billion yuan on public food and drinks in 2004. Figures from the China Statistical Yearbook show that “in 1999, state fiscal expenditures consumed 300 billion yuan in fiscal costs for cadres to go abroad at public expense alone.” With just these three sums combined, the three public spending has reached 900 billion yuan.

The former CPPCC spokesman Lu Xinhua confessed: our national administrative expenditure accounts for 28% of GDP, the West is generally 4-5%, we are five or six times theirs, which means that the institution is really huge!

The overall medical expenses of the nation are encroached upon by the “privileged wards”, which has become a “louse on the head of a bald man – it’s obvious”. Southern People Weekly reported that the new cadre ward building of Baiqiu’en First Hospital of Jilin University has a total construction area of 56,000 square meters, with 257 health care beds for provincial, sub-provincial, departmental and retired cadres. It has generated a lot of comments on the Internet, with netizens calling it an “extravagant eight-star cadre ward”.

Yin Daqui, former vice minister of the Ministry of Health, cited figures from a survey by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which said that 80 percent of the Chinese government’s investment in health care is for the 8.5 million people who are mainly party and government cadres. He also revealed that 2 million cadres at all levels in the country’s party and government sectors are on long-term sick leave, with 400,000 of them occupying cadre wards, cadre guesthouses and resorts for long periods of Time, spending tens of billions of yuan a year. “There is a serious inequity in China’s current health care service system.” (China Health Industry Magazine, Issue 12, 2006)

“At our level it is special, everything is covered by the state”

Mikhailovich Molotov, “Lenin’s and Stalin’s comrade”, was a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Secretary of the Central Committee, and Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union. During his lifetime, Molotov had 140 conversations with the Soviet Writer Chuev. These conversations revealed many top political secrets of the Soviet Union. For example, on the issue of “cadres’ salaries” in Stalin’s time, Molotov said: “Of course we had salaries. You see, at our level it was special, everything was covered by the state, and we were paid. In fact, the state covers everything.”

Why did the communist regime “risk the world” and fish the people so recklessly? In communist countries, such as the former Soviet Union, or other socialist countries, Animal Farm, written by George Orwell, is usually a forbidden book. In Animal Farm, the difference between the Communist Party before and after it seized power is revealed.

Before the seizure of power, in order to gain the support of the people, they claimed that they would lead the animals to realize their desire to be “masters of their own house” and that “all animals are equal”.

After the seizure of power, the “law” of the farm was changed to “all animals are born equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, and the animals returned to their former miserable condition. The slightest discontent of the animals was met with bloody massacres and purges.

In the famous political bibliography “Nine Comments on the Communist Party” published by the editorial board of the Nine Comments, it says this: “The Communist organization itself does not engage in production and invention, but once it gains power, it attaches itself to the people of the country, manipulates and controls them, controls the smallest unit of society to protect against the loss of power, and at the same time monopolizes the initial source of social wealth in order to suck up social wealth resources.

In China, the Party organization is omnipresent and omnipresent, but one never sees the financial budget of the Chinese Communist Party organization, only the budget of the state, the budget of local governments, and the budget of enterprises. Whether it is the central government all the way down to the village committees in the countryside, administrative officials are always lower than Party officials, and the government follows the orders of the Party at the same level. The party’s expenses are paid for out of the executive’s expenses and are not listed separately.

This party organization, like a giant evil spirit, is attached to every cell of Chinese society like a shadow, controlling and manipulating the society with its meticulous suction channels, penetrating into every capillary and every cell of the society.

This odd structure of possession, sometimes localized in society, sometimes transient in society as a whole, has never been as complete, long-lasting and stable as in Communist society.”

History rises and falls, the cycle of the heavens, and what goes around comes around, and what goes around comes around, and anything that goes against the grain will not last.