Nowhere left to hide for corrupt officials

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-10 0:58:01

Liu Tienan, the former head of the National Energy Administration who was sacked for corruption, has been revealed to have been holding $17.45 million in 25 bank accounts, as well as 9 kilograms of gold and 25 "rare diamonds."

This is a shocking listing of a high-ranking official's illegal wealth. It has not only ended Liu's future, but also done tremendous harm to the reputation of the Communist Party of China and the government.

Liu's case is not isolated. A number of high-ranking officials have fallen before him, while many believe Liu will not be the last to fall. These corruption cases will dent the public's view of government officials as a whole.

The authorities must make the recent spat of corruption cases examples of strong warnings, so that corrupt officials cannot underestimate the chance of being caught and the severity of punishment.

The public scrutiny boosted by the Internet has been showing its power. The authorities have been responding quicker and harsher than before. A joint campaign to fight corruption is surging.

It may be a hard choice for rising officials. They know it is dangerous to trade their power for wealth. But in the meantime, it is hard for them not to think of "taking a share" while working hard for local or national prosperity.

However, the huge amount of money Liu has pocketed had nothing to do with improving his lifestyle. He had to hide it, so it served only as a time bomb. For some, money brings material goods or a sense of security. For others, it may bring a sense of power or honor. But Liu's illegal gains brought him nothing but destruction.

The wealth of corrupt officials will be in greater danger of being exposed as society progresses. It is naïve for them to believe they will be safe even if they are not caught yet.

It's time to wake up for officials who try to abuse their power. As it becomes easier for anyone to report wrongdoing online, and the anti-corruption system has become more thorough, corruption is slipping into a desperate corner.

Wealth has increasingly become a benchmark for many to measure a person's value and achievement. A "poor" official may win respect in the media. But in the real world, the official often cannot feel such respect. Judging a person's status by his wealth has deep roots in China, and can be difficult for officials to resist.

 Officialdom is not a way to get rich. It is all right for rich people to become civil servants. But the public will not accept an official who makes a fortune out of his post.

Liu's fall was inevitable. Even if his scandal was not exposed online eight months ago, he would have faced his fate sooner or later.

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