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Civil Service Development in China and America: A Comparative Perspective


King Kwun Tsao teaches Chinese public administration and policy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is an active researcher publishing both in Chinese and English on Chinese public policy, civil service, and administrative reform. He is a leading researcher on the reformation of the Chinese civil service system. Over the years, he has served as a visiting scholar at Peking, Fudan, Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard universities and the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a visiting professor at East China Normal University, Jianan University, and Liaoning University.

John Abbott Worthley was among the first American public administrationists to teach in the Peo le's Republic of China. His term as a visiting professor at Wuhan University in 1982 was followed by similar positions nnually throughout China, including the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, the Shanghai Instit te of Foreign Trade, and Hainan University. He has authored or edited nine books and 50 articles, including the first pie e in Western literature on modern Chinese public administration in 1984. He regularly consults on Chinese- American matters and is an emissary in Vatican-Beijing diplomatic relations.


How has reform changed Chinese and American civil service systems in light of China’s landmark reform in 1993 by contrast to the aftermath of the U.S. Civil Service Act of 1883? While there are significant differences, remarkable administrative and political similarities also emerge. Particularly salient is the role of educational systems in the civil service development of both countries. Surprisingly, this comparative analysis finds a common struggle to balance professional expertise with political accountability and control. King Kwun Tsao of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and John Abbott Worthley of Seton Hall University argue that further comparative research is essential to hone an improved understanding of China specifically as well as civil service systems generally.