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Society calls for new series of bank notes to combat graft and forgers

By Su Zhou (China Daily)

Updated: 2015-03-11 07:38:54


A new series of bank notes should be issued to tackle counterfeiters and corruption, according to a senior member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The proposal triggered debate after it was put forward by the Jiu San Society during the conference's annual session in Beijing.

Lai Ming, the society's vice-chairman, said that though some are opposed to the idea, there is an urgent need to issue a new series and upgrade anti-counterfeiting technology.

"Fake notes appear in an unending flow, which has caused trouble for the economy and in people's daily lives," said Lai. "The current series has been issued for nearly 10 years. The average period of circulation for a series of bank notes in China is about nine-and-a-half years, so it is time for us to issue a new series."

Lai said this could prevent corrupt officials who have hidden large amounts of cash from benefiting from their crimes.

"Official figures show that many of the bank notes printed each year do not circulate in the market," said Lai. "Though the Chinese like to keep cash at home, we all agree that many corrupt officials have accumulated large amounts of bank notes."

Over the past year, huge sums have been found in the homes of many officials as a result of the anti-corruption drive. In November, the authorities found more than 200 million yuan ($32.2 million) in cash at the home of former energy official Wei Pengyuan. Wei had been deputy director of the National Energy Administration's coal department.

"After a new series of bank notes is issued, people have to register with banks to exchange their notes for the new ones, and this will make it more difficult for corrupt officials to keep untraceable cash," said Lai.

Liu Shengjun, deputy director of the Lujiazui International Finance Research Center, told The Paper that the proposal would not help the fight against graft.

"Upgrading bank notes takes time," said Liu. "In the past, there was a period when old notes and new notes circulated at the same time. During this period, it would be difficult to stop corrupt officials finding channels to deal with the huge sums of cash they possess."

Zhu Lijia, a professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said a greater focus on supervision in economic, financial and government areas is needed to help prevent corruption.

"The core issue is not the currency," said Zhu. "Besides, China is seeking a role for the renminbi as an international currency. We should be more cautious when we talk about issuing a new series of bank notes."