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Last Updated: Monday, 9 April 2007, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Filial piety key to Chinese jobs
Wei Qing (left) and Ge Qigong
Family values used to be very strong in China
Working hard is no longer enough to warrant a promotion in one Chinese county, according to state media.

New rules state that government employees in Changyuan county, in Henan province, must be nice to their parents as well as being good at their jobs.

Assessors will interview relatives and friends of employees, to see if they espouse the values of filial piety.

Analysts say that as China modernises, traditions such as caring for parents have started to fade away.

The new proposal is an indicator that China's leaders are worried about supporting the country's ageing population.

Eroding values

For thousands of years, being a good son or daughter has been an important part of Chinese culture.

Filial piety was one of the main criteria for the selection of officials as early as the Han Dynasty (from 206 BC to AD 220).

Now it looks set to gain importance again. Special investigators in Changyuan county will grill relatives, friends and colleagues on each official's behaviour, including their family values and whether they have any drinking or gambling habits.

Only those with a perfect record will be promoted.

"The assessment teams will have a lot of work on their plate, but the new measures are an impartial way of appraising officials' image in the eyes of the public," Su Jingquan, a county personnel official, told the China Daily.

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