China / National affairs

Proposals call for publication of officials' assets

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2013-01-24 23:50

Policy advisers have called for legislation that demands the publication of officials' assets and regulates online allegations of officials' abuse of power.

"Anti-corruption efforts should not rely solely on online exposure," said Fan Songqing, deputy secretary-general of Guangzhou's political consultative conference. "Disciplinary watchdogs should take active action to prevent corruption."

Online whistle-blowing has proved increasingly effective in catching rogue officials, with a growing number being investigated and even removed from their posts.

However, some online allegations have proved wrong.

Police in Jinan, Shandong province, denied on Thursday that a former police chief in the city's Licheng district owned multiple properties.

A post on Sina Weibo, a micro-blogging website, said on Tuesday that Cheng Shaochun had 16 buildings in a residential community.

After an investigation, police said Cheng does not own the buildings, adding that they were built as welfare houses for police officers.

The disciplinary watchdog in Guangzhou also denied allegations from a netizen in December that a retired urban construction committee member owned 16 properties.

"Online allegations about corruption and abuse of power by officials indicate the public is keen to know about the assets held by officials' families," Fan said on Thursday.

Referring to false accusations, the Guangdong committee of the China Zhi Gong Dang said in a proposal during the current session of the provincial political consultative conference that anti-graft efforts on the Internet should be regulated.

A system should be put in place, or the public will find it hard to tell truth from lies, the proposal states.

Fan also called for legalized publication of officials' assets to prevent corruption. "We need an effective legislative system," he added.

In a proposal to the annual session of the Guangzhou political consultative conference, which ended on Tuesday, Fan said the city should require its approximately 2,000 officials to report family assets, including houses, land, cars and other assets worth more than 5,000 yuan ($804).

After making the proposal, Fan told media reporters that his family has a 74-square-meter home.

"Some people don't believe I have only one house, but I want to let them know that there are still many officials who act within the law," he said. "I can't afford to buy more houses due to my limited income."

Fan also called on the central government to introduce the practice of making officials' assets public as soon as possible.

"The central government should introduce the practice nationwide soon," he said.

In response to his proposal, a growing number of officials in Guangzhou have vowed to follow suit.

"I'd like to publicize my family's assets if I am required to do so," Guangzhou Mayor Chen Jianhua said on Wednesday.

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