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Shanxi plans to cut graft at root

By Zhang Yan (China Daily)

Updated: 2015-03-07 08:29:35


Shanxi province will pay attention to investigating more graft cases in the selection of new government officials and curb corruption at its root, a senior official from Shanxi said on Friday.

Up till now, there have been 300 vacant positions for governmental officials in Shanxi after an intensive crackdown on corruption initiated in November 2012, when China's new leadership took office.

The vacant governmental posts include three secretaries of municipal Party committees, 16 secretaries of county Party committees and 13 heads of counties, said Wang Rulin, Party chief of Shanxi province.

"We are facing a tough question to prevent selecting and promoting new officials with graft issues," he said. All of the new appointed officers should have good reputations among the public and pass the assessment by the local disciplinary inspection authorities.

Since November 2012, President Xi Jinping has conducted a sweeping drive to fight corruption, targeting high-ranking "tigers' and lowly " flies" alike.

To date, seven provincial-level officials in Shanxi have been placed under investigation for alleged graft issues, including Ren Runhou, former vice-governor in Shanxi, and Ling Zhengce, former vice-chairman of the Shanxi provincial political advisory body. Ling Zhengce is the brother of Ling Jihua, former vice-minister for the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, who was taken away by anti-graft officers in December for "serious disciplinary violation".

Between September and December of last year, more than 7,000 officers had been probed for "serious Party discipline violation," which is often a euphemism for corruption.

The downfall of lots of Shanxi officials has been dubbed the "earthquake in Shanxi officialdom".

Wang said that low moral activity, a hunger for power and lenient punishment for corruption have been to blame for the corruption.

"We are facing a tough task to combat corruption in Shanxi, and we will realize the fundamental problems for corruption in Shanxi and use strong medicines to cure the illness," he said.

Wang said the anti-graft officials in Shanxi have been talking with 622 prominent officials likely to be appointed, while searching for responsible officers, especially in the areas hit worst by corruption, such as the cities of Taiyuan and Luliang.

"After passing the assessments, the newly-appointed officers will take office as soon as possible," he said, adding that most governmental officials in Shanxi are qualified and free of corruption.