CPC watchdog condemns election fraud

By Ding Xuezhen Source:Global Times Published: 2016-2-18 1:13:01

Authorities take aim at bribery in all levels ahead of grass-roots vote

A newspaper affiliated with China's top disciplinary watchdog warned against "non-organizational activities in elections" on Wednesday ahead of grass-roots elections across the country in 2016.

Leading cadres of all levels must not cross Party discipline's bottom line for the interests of individuals or small groups during the election year, said China Discipline Inspection Daily, a newspaper run by the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection of the Communist Party of China.

Party members who engage in non-organizational activities in elections - including bribery in Party, governmental and legislative elections at all levels - may be removed from public office and may even be expelled from the Party.

"The purpose of the report is to give a preventive inoculation against illegal operations in elections," as the problem of electoral bribery is still frequently seen in China, Fang Ning, director of the Political Science Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

China's grass-roots elections of local people's congresses at the county and lower levels are held every five years and will be conducted starting in early 2016.

"According to the requirements of the Party Central Committee, elections should be held in a normal and public manner," Zhuang Deshui, deputy director of the Research Center for Government Integrity-Building at Peking University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"The seriousness of elections must be safeguarded to ensure people's trust in the elected cadres," Zhuang said.

"We have learned painful lessons from past massive and collective bribery in elections in Hunan and Sichuan," he added.

The election bribery scandal in Sichuan Province in 2011 involved 477 people and 16.72 million yuan ($2.56 million). A Party secretary named Yang Jianhua was sentenced to 20 years in prison for abuse of power and for offering and accepting bribes, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

In 2013, Central China's Hunan Province saw one of the country's largest election fraud cases, where 56 provincial legislators offered over 110 million yuan in bribes to 518 city lawmakers and 68 staff members, Xinhua reported. As a result, 518 delegates of the people's congress in Hengyang, Hunan Province were forced to resign. 

"Those non-organizational activities which breach the Party's disciplinary regulations will lead to the loss of the elections' credibility, power struggles at the local level and damage to Party unity," Zhuang said.

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