Govt firm in resolve to fight graft

Updated: 2013-03-28 07:44

By Wu Wencong and Hu Yongqi in Beijing, Zhang Chunyan in London and Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily)

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Premier sets the agenda in campaign to tackle graft

The new government has sounded the anti-corruption warning bell within two weeks of taking power, vowing to build a "clean" government.

"Power, money and the behavior of officials should all be restricted by regulations. A system that does not allow opportunities for, and frightens people away from, corruption should be formulated," said Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday.

Govt firm in resolve to fight graft

Premier Li Keqiang set out six guidelines to lead the anti-corruption fight during the State Council's first meeting on clean governance on Tuesday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Li set out six guidelines to lead the anti-corruption fight, emphasized by "disclosure of all government work, except for that related to State secrets, business secrets and individual privacy", starting with the disclosure of official spending on government receptions at the county level and above.

The move has raised high expectations. "So far, there have already been a number of encouraging statements by the new Chinese leadership," said Oliver Brauner, a researcher at the China and International Peace and Security Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden.

"Their focus most likely is on the domestic challenges they face: namely on how to maintain economic growth while changing the growth model toward a more sustainable, innovative and consumption-driven economy. This will urgently require bold reforms in the economic, social and political spheres."

Some experts were optimistic. "Li Keqiang has gotten off to a very good start as China's premier," said Theodore Moran, Marcus Wallenberg Professor of International Business and Finance at Georgetown University in the United States.

Eddy Li, vice-president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, said, "Corruption is not only threatening the healthy development of the national economy, but influences Hong Kong people's perception of the central government and hurts their faith in the nation.

"At the moment, the authorities are determined to take an unwavering stand. Whether the context of the corruption is big or small - any form will be severely punished according to the law. If the authorities actually enforce the law, there will be a much brighter future awaiting China," he said.

'Equity and balance'

Observers overseas also recognize the difficulties the government faces. "Economic reform is difficult. Taking on corruption even more so. The Party and the State must follow his (Li's) words and seek social equity and balance," said Robert Berring, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, who teaches courses on the Chinese legal system.

Since the CPC's 18th National Congress in November, China's top officials have repeatedly expressed their determination to fight corruption.

"To address these problems, we must first of all conduct ourselves honorably," said President Xi Jinping, when he first met the media as general secretary of the CPC's top body on Nov 15. He spoke about how the Party should supervise its own conduct and run itself in a disciplined way to solve major problems, especially corruption.

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