1 million officials probed for graft

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/24 0:13:40

Drive gains momentum before plenum

Ahead of the sixth plenary session on Monday, the Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) released a trove of statistics on anti-graft, saying that 1.01 million officials have been investigated for graft from 2013 to September 2016.

Experts said that China's anti-corruption campaign is a political accomplishment for the Party and is key to maintaining the Party's leadership.

Eight corrupt officials at ministerial level or above were sentenced 20 days ahead of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) sixth plenary session. This includes two from North China's Shanxi Province, Nie Chunyu, former secretary-general of the CPC Shanxi Committee, and Bai Yun, former member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Shanxi Committee. Since the 18th CPC Central Committee in 2012, 34 ministerial-level officials have been sentenced, the Legal Daily reported.

The sixth plenum will review two drafts concerning the comprehensive and strict management of the Party, a draft on the intra-Party political life under the new situation, and amendments to an intra-Party supervision regulation, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

During the sixth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Commission for the CCDI in May, President Xi Jinping said that the Party has given full play to inspection groups and has exerted greater efforts in pursuing fugitives and recovering stolen assets.

Statistics from the Ministry of Public Security show that 409 fugitives were apprehended overseas during operation Fox Hunt in 2016, 15 of whom were on the list of the 100 most-wanted.

More corrupt officials are attempting to transfer assets abroad before fleeing, and Fox Hunt is a way to arrest that trend, part of a larger campaign codenamed "Sky Net" that combines government, Party, law enforcement agencies, the central bank and diplomatic services, Xinhua reported.

"The anti-corruption campaign is a major political accomplishment for the Party since the 18th CPC Central Committee. It will continue to pile  on the pressure as there are still hidden corrupt officials and some Chinese people aren't satisfied with the campaign," Zhi Zhenfeng, associate research fellow at the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Zhi said that compared with "tigers" - senior corrupt officials - most Chinese people are bothered by the "flies," especially those from local governments, and the Party is now pushing to build a supervision system at all levels.

Lower-level targets

The CPC released its eight-point rules on austerity in late 2012 to reduce pomp, ceremony, bureaucracy and other undesirable work practices.

"Aside from zero tolerance for corrupt officials, the anti-corruption campaign will target more lower level officials - a further step to strengthen the management of Party members and enhance Party credibility," Zhuang Deshui, deputy director of the Research Center for Government Integrity-Building at Peking University, told the Global Times.

During the sixth plenary session of the CCDI, Xi said that more than 80 percent of civil servants and more than 95 percent of the officials at county-level or above are Party members. The supervisory system should be intensified within the Party as well as in government institutions.

"[Winning] the people's support is the top political priority," Xi said, adding that the anti-corruption drive has boosted people's faith in and support for the Party, and that people speak highly of the anti-corruption drive.

Zhuang said that anti-graft and comprehensively intensifying discipline within the Party are also key to ensuring the Party's leadership. "The campaign helps remove the malignant tumor - getting rid of corrupt officials and building a group of officials with integrity to promote policies during the deepening of reform."

"If cracking down on tigers and flies is treating the symptoms, the Party is now also introducing a permanent cure for corruption by institutionalizing intra-Party regulations and strengthening management of Party members," said Deng Lianfan, director of a research center for integrity-building with the Law Society of Hunan Province.

Deng said that the CCDI's latest round of inspections in some regions, relatively soon after the first wave of inspections in October 2013, signals that all the measures during the anti-graft campaign would be performed on a regular basis, letting officials know clearly that they should always behave.

"Party organizations at all levels in different organs should also fully implement Party rules and always remember that the CPC's rules are much stricter than national laws. This is the base line to maintaining the leadership of the Party as well as the way to push China's development forward," Zhi said.

Three officials from Northeast China's Liaoning Province, including Yang Yazhou, former vice mayor of  Shenyang, one from Shandong Province and one from Anhui Province were put under investigation during the CCDI's second round of inspections in February and March, the People's Daily reported.

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