By Sichuan Online | 2012-6-6 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
ZHANG Zulin, mayor of Kunming, provincial capital of Yunnan, said on June 1 that it is common for privileged government employees to have four to five apartments. Some government agencies are rich and powerful enough to provide more housing than is needed for their staff.
Meanwhile, the disenfranchised will never be able afford to buy a home if the government doesn't build social housing, said Zhang.
For many Chinese, a house will cost their life savings. But if you are fortunate enough to work for a high-profile public organization, you'll worry less about a home's affordability than how to derive money from the extra ones issued to you as perks.
We cannot say civil servants who own multiple homes are necessarily corrupt. But nationwide, it is no longer surprising to hear of governments doling out largesse to their staff through ostensibly legal means.
In 2009 for example, Sinopec reportedly purchased apartments for its workers in Beijing at a third of the market price. Similar cases abound in the provinces about homes reserved for civil servants only.
Some people not only out-earn most of us - it seems that their money also boasts better buying power.
The government can surely help the disadvantaged by building more subsidized homes. But before this task, official prerogatives and perks must first be curbed.