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Officials post their financial information online

Updated: 2012-09-27 02:45
By Xie Yu ( China Daily)

Fourteen county officials up for promotion in Zhejiang province have declared their incomes and personal assets to the public online.

The candidates' financial information was published on the Pan'an county government website this week, along with a hotline for residents to report false information.

Hu Yuxian, who is in line to become the head of a township, has an annual income of 62,123 yuan ($9,860) from her job as secretary of the county's Communist Youth League committee, according to the website.

She reported having two housing estates — one measuring 143.95 square meters bought by her family and another measuring 304.17 square meters, which she inherited.

The purpose of publicly releasing the information is "to ensure that newly promoted officials do not have any problems regarding properties", said an official who answered the hotline on Wednesday.

The official, who said he was discipline inspection director for the county's organization committee but would only give his surname, Yang, because he wanted to remain low key, confirmed that the authority had so far received no calls about erroneous statements by the 14 officials.

If any false information is discovered, the candidate will lose the chance of promotion and will be punished, Yang added.

It is the second time in a month that local officials have declared personal assets to the public.

In late August, 600 officials at section head and higher levels for a district in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, released financial details on a government website, including their real estate, savings and investments, and those of their spouses and children.

Certain officials are required to report their incomes to the Party every year, as a precaution against corruption. That information is not open to public.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee has been emphasizing this report system, but it is not compulsory.

Some officials still decline to disclose the information, claiming it infringes on their privacy, Yang said.

"Authorities are trying different methods to make the assets of officials public," said Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance. "I believe the key is to ensure open information is verified."

He suggested that a supervision platform be built based on local people's congresses, rather than inside the Party, to ensure an independent overview of officials' reports.

People have been calling for more government officials to declare their incomes and assets.

This month, Shaanxi province's finance department rejected a request by university student Liu Yanfeng to disclose the assets of Yang Dacai, a senior work safety official.

Yang Dacai came under fire from netizens after pictures emerged of him wearing at least 11 expensive wristwatches. He was dismissed for "serious discipline violations" on Friday.

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