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China warns against holiday corruption

Updated: 2007-01-28 08:56
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BEIJING - A senior Party leader has warned colleagues and government officials against "holiday corruption", or bribes disguised as traditional gifts during the festive start of the Year of the Pig.

Corruption was all but wiped out in the years since 1949 but has made a comeback since market reforms began in the 1980s.

"Holiday corruption has seriously hampered economic development and the building of harmonious society," Xinhua news agency on Saturday quoted Xu Guangchun, secretary of the Henan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party, as saying.

Harmonious society is the aim of President Hu Jintao who last month added his voice to a high-profile campaign to wipe out official corruption, calling for a culture of clean and honest government.

Xu cited the case of a county official who took bribes of more than $100,000 at holidays over five years.

Luan Weidong's defence was that taking presents on holidays was a Chinese tradition.

"I have to send back the same or more on weddings, funerals or other festival occasions," he said.

Chinese New Year, the biggest of three "Golden Week" holidays in China when most people try to make it back to their home provinces to their families, begins this year on February 18.