BEIJING - As the Communist Party of China (CPC) prepares to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its founding, the party is making extra efforts to ensure that its officials are living up to the standards first established by the party's founders back in 1921.
At a press conference held by the Central Commission for Disciple Inspection (CCDI) on Wednesday, a senior discipline official said at a Wednesday press conference that graft and corruption are still a threat, as the country remains in a period of social transition.
Wu Yuliang, deputy secretary of the CCDI, said the Party will tighten their management of government-purchased vehicles and supervise the use of government vehicles to prevent abuse by officials.
The CPC Central Committee has been working to create a complete inventory for the country's millions of government vehicles since April 25.
Official transportation is not the only area under scrutiny. Chinese officials are seeing new regulations and restrictions in other areas as well.
Wu said that while officials are not prevented from engaging in leisure activities at their own expense, there are restrictions on officials using public money for private fun.
Wu cited several significant corruption cases, including the execution of Tianjin Party head Zhang Zishan back in 1952 and the removal of former Railway Minister Liu Zhijun earlier this year, as evidence of the CPC's determination to fight corruption.
Asset declaration system still problematic
Although the Chinese public has previously proposed creating an asset declaration system for the Party to supervise its officials, Wu said the proposed system is still problematic.
Wu specified two major problems in the creation of a mechanism for disclosure for Chinese officials: public distrust in officials' declarations and the government's inability to accurately verify their declarations.
"The system won't work if the public does not trust the officials' declarations. At the same time, we have no way to truly verify their claims," Wu said.
Wu did not offer a timetable for the implementation of the asset declaration system. The system would require all officials to declare their incomes and investments, as well as a few personal details.
However, he said the CPC takes a positive attitude toward establishing such a system, as it has proven to be effective in fighting corruption in many other countries.
According to the Communist Party of China Central Committee's anti-corruption guidelines for 2008-2012, the Party must continue to research and evaluate the system before it can be implemented.
A regulation passed last year already requires officials to report their personal incomes, as well as their children's and spouses' employment and housing status, Wu said.
Last year's regulation was not the first of its kind. In April 1995, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, or China's cabinet, created a regulation that required high-ranking officials to report their incomes.
However, corrupt officials have been known to transfer ill-gotten gains overseas, often to their spouses or children, to avoid punishment.
"The Chinese government has paid great attention to corrupted officials who send their money overseas and has taken measures to pursue them and hunt for the embezzled funds," Wu said.
The Chinese government has cooperated with other countries and regions to bring these corrupted officials to justice. The CPC has also started to focus its vision on government officials whose spouses and children have migrated to other countries.
Corruption continues after retirement
Although the CPC has been trying to improve its supervision of incumbent government officials who may be prone to abusing their posts, some of these officials have found ways to trade their current power for benefits that will be cashed in when they retire.
An anti-graft official said at the press conference that measures have been put into place to prevent officials from using their current posts to facilitate their entry into the private sector, as a "stand-down" period of three years is now mandatory for retired officials.
In March of last year, the CPC Central Committee introduced a regulation that forbids officials from taking jobs at private companies for at least three years after they leave office.
Wu said that these officials are also forbidden from engaging in any for-profit business related to their previous posts or jurisdictions within three years of retiring.
The official also said that the CCDI thinks highly of the role that the Internet currently plays in fighting corruption.
"We have done our best to verify clues provided by online tipsters," Wu said.
"We attach great importance to the supervisory role that the public, including Internet users, can play in fighting corruption."