Officials voluntarily give up 771m yuan in questionable gifts

Updated: 2012-10-23 01:22

By Zhao Yinan and Cao Yin (China Daily)

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More than 83,000 Party members and government officials had turned over illegally obtained cash and securities bonds worth nearly 771 million yuan ($123 million) to higher authorities by the end of 2011, after the country released a guiding principle in 2010 to promote clean government.

The country's disciplinary watchdog investigated and punished more than 3,500 Party members and government officials from 2010 to 2011, in a bid to crack down on corruption inside the Party, the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement on Monday.

The statement is the latest of a series of reports on cracking down on corruption that the Party disciplinary watchdog has released in recent days.

The watchdog said on Oct 15 that more than 668,000 Party members and government officials have been punished for violating rules over the last five years, and a total of 1.58 billion yuan in illegal gains has been confiscated.

Analysts said it indicated the Party's determination to crack down on fraud and dishonesty, as its top discipline watchdog moved to publish information about Party disciplines ahead of the upcoming National Congress of the Communist Party of China early next month, when a new leadership lineup is expected.

In Monday's statement, the top disciplinary authority said it has found 392 million yuan of illegal gains, apart from the amount that was turned in voluntarily by officials.

Since 2010, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has released a series of principles to strengthen the supervision of Party members and government officials.

These principles require disciplinary authorities at all levels to reinforce the supervision of officials whose families have moved abroad as well as ask officials above the county levels to report "personal matters", including marital status and family properties.

Since 2011, the principles have seen more than 1 million government officials above county level reporting their personal matters to higher authorities.

In a latest case of punishing Party officials who have violated rules, Cai Bin, a urban management official of Panyu district, Guangzhou, Guangdong province, has been put under shuanggui, a procedure in which a Party member is asked to confess to wrongdoing at a stipulated time and place, Southern Daily reported on Monday, quoting the city's disciplinary authority.

Last month, Yang Dacai, a former senior work safety official in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, was fired for corruption after online pictures showed him wearing at least 11 pricey wristwatches on different occasions.

Lin Zhe, a professor of anti-corruption research at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said she is satisfied to see the achievements after the guiding principle published in 2010.

"The achievements on self-discipline of the Party in different provinces across the country are very meaningful, which means the guiding principle, to some extent, has been enforced well and brought positive effects to the anti-corruption work," she said, adding the result was better than her expectation.

She said that current rules, such as a requirement targeting civil servants to declare their assets, will be effective in promoting anti-corruption work if they are properly enforced.

Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said accuracy should be upheld in the Party's self-discipline measures.

"The most important is not the income declaration, because it was just a 'task' that civil servants must do under the guiding principle. Instead, the key of the declaration lies in the accuracy of its contents and the transparence of its processes," he said.

"The anti-corruption work needs supervision from people's congresses of all levels and the public. After all, it's hard for the Party itself to do the self-discipline," he added.

The professor suggested that it is the right time to regulate or promote asset declaration through legislation.

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