China / Politics

Official whose family owns 31 houses arrested

By AN BAIJIE (China Daily) Updated: 2013-01-15 01:46

One of the civil servants, named Wang, accepted more than 140,000 yuan ($22,500) in bribes from the sale of six government-subsidized houses to unqualified families, according to the prosecutor.

The local Party's anti-graft agency removed Zhai from his post in September 2011 for a number of disciplinary offenses, including using his political power to seek profit for his family. However, he was not charged at that time, and his family assets did not become publicly known until the whistle-blowing post appeared online last month.

Zhai also violated the country's family planning policy by having a second child in April 1990. Each of his four family members has two residence permits, according to the prosecutor.

The case is still under investigation, with more details — including how the affordable houses were sold — still unclear, the prosecutor said.

A large number of corrupt officials exposed by netizens have been dismissed since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November. Newly elected Party chief Xi Jinping vowed to resolve the pressing problem of corruption.

Exposing corruption online has gained momentum, and officials who have extraordinarily large amounts of wealth could easily become the target of netizens, said Zhou Shuzhen, a politics professor at Renmin University of China.

"Housing prices have been rising and become unaffordable for many families in recent years, but many officials possess numerous houses through illegal means, which causes a large income gap and is intolerable to the public," Zhou said.

Cai Bin, an urban management official in Guangdong province who was nicknamed "Uncle House" by netizens, was dismissed from his post in October after online posts exposed that he owned 22 houses.

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