Amidst criticism of bureaucracy Xi launches war on 'formalism'

Grass-roots cadres often find themselves members of more than a hundred WeChat messaging groups, the Xinhua agency said in a December commentary lamenting the spread of “formalism” online. Rather than speaking to ordinary people to understand their needs, some officials focus on how to document and publicize their work to please superiors, it added.

Some of Beijing’s proposed remedies only seem to encourage more bureaucracy. As the pandemic’s economic fallout heaped pressure on officials struggling to meet poverty-relief targets, party authorities ordered in April a fresh push to curb red tape.

Among its demands: compiling an anthology of Mr. Xi’s remarks on “formalism and bureaucratism” and making it required reading for all cadres.

Within weeks, a party publisher had released a 136-page volume featuring 182 passages, and government agencies and state businesses started arranging seminars for officials to study the text.