Being a Chinese government official was never easy, but at least it used to come with perks. Now, Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has meant that many of the good things in life are out of reach for officials, including “business” trips to tourist areas, fancy banquets, five-star hotels, first-class flights, luxury cars paid for with official money, and expensive gifts. As a result, we’ve seen a major luxury industry slowdown heavily concentrated in sectors such as high-end catering, spirits, and watches since the campaign took effect.
According to a new Wall Street Journal video, this new work environment means that a growing number of Chinese college graduates are eschewing the public sector for the private. In the video, China Market Research Founder Shaun Rein discusses how the “newly modernized version” of the “iron rice bowl” is starting to become less attractive as a career choice.
“Right now, the quality of life for officials really isn’t as good anymore,” says Rein in the interview. “This year, the number of applicants for the civil service exam dropped 37 percent in Zhejiang province alone. Most provinces had between a 10 and 30 percent drop.”
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