China punishes 20,000 rural officials for misconducts

Updated: 2007-02-02 20:29

BEIJING -- The Chinese Communist Party (CPC) punished 20,768 lower-level party administrators and local officials working in the countryside last year for breaking laws or the Party's rules, the CPC discipline watchdog announced Friday.

Of those who were disciplined 273 held county-level government or Party committees posts, 20,495 worked in villages, said a press release from the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

"A clean leadership in rural areas is crucial to a harmonious society as China is a country with large agricultural lands and a rural population of 900 million," it said.

In recent years, corruption and inappropriate law enforcement by village officials were reported to be wide-spread in parts of China's vast countryside, causing distress to farmers and leading some to participate in violent protests.

Land expropriation was the most frequent subject of petitions made by Chinese farmers, with complaints about village finances and environmental pollution coming second and third.

The central government last October launched a nation-wide campaign to stamp out grafts and misconduct among rural Party cadres and government officials.

"The cadres who harm the interests of farmers should be severely punished," said the circular issued at the start of the campagin.

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