China removes 41,700 bully-like village cadres: anti-mafia authority

By Huang Lanlan Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/17 21:21:25

photo: VCG

China is stepping up its efforts to promote social stability and order at the grass-roots level by investigating and dealing with malign forces in villages across the country. As of October, China has cracked down on 1,175 mafia-like organizations and 13,422 criminal gangs in rural areas, removing 41,700 village cadres who were subjected to criminal punishment or involved in evildoings while in positions of powers at the grass-roots level, according to recent statistics released by the national anti-mafia authority.

These actions prevented some vicious powers from controlling political power in villages and protected the public interests of villagers, said Ye Qilin, a professor in political science and public administration at Huaqiao University. "They help improve China's grassroots governance mechanisms in practice," Ye told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Malign forces have long been controlling the grassroots-level's political power and running rampant in some areas. Indeed, these "village bullies" have caused keenly-felt pains to local villagers, said an article published by the Committee of Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on November 13.

Bully-like cadres are a bloodsucker of the local economy and a threat to people's lives and property security, the article commented.

Among the cases that have been investigated and dealt with, law enforcement bodies found that bully-like cadres across China's villages have embezzled a total of 560 million yuan ($85.3), accepting 274 million yuan worth of bribes, and withheld 58 million yuan worth of government support funds, severely hurting local collective assets and villagers' interests, the article said.

What's more, a total of 63 people were killed and 4,166 injured in such cases, the article said, mentioning Ji Yudong, former Party chief of a village in East China's Jiangsu Province, who had racketeered villagers eight times and intentionally hurt 11 people.

"The public has been resenting these bully-like cadres, who had been preying on, oppressing and intimidating local people," the article noted. 

"These evil forces have now been basically eliminated, and the local political ecology and public security environment in rural areas has been significantly improved [through the anti-mafia's actions]," it added.

According to a national public opinion survey conducted by the State Statistics Bureau earlier this year, 95.4 percent of rural Chinese people thought that there were no longer malign forces or mafia-like groups controlling grassroots political power around them.

For decades, China has been implementing self-governance at the grass-roots level (like in villages), which is a fundamental political system in China that ensures people exercise their democratic rights, Ye said.

This self-governance system enables villagers themselves to elect leaders or cadres for their villages. "It can mobilize the enthusiasm of the broad masses in rural areas by participating in the management of local public affairs and protecting collective properties as direct stakeholders," Ye told the Global Times.

Nonetheless, problems may occur in practice when some deep-rooted forces have long been holding local political powers and even collude with mafia-like groups, Ye said. "Such situations are hard to break especially in places where many villagers actually don't care about elections nor votes but just bury themselves in trivial household affairs," he said.

Therefore, it is necessary for the national authorities to investigate and deal with bully-like village cadres, when local people are not interested in, or incapable of, exercising their own supervision on them, Ye noted. "It helps to ensure the self-governance system at the grass-roots level remains on the right track," he said.


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