Home / Understanding big issues

Shanxi acts to clean out corruption

By Du Juan in Beijing and Sun Ruisheng in Taiyuan (China Daily)

Updated: 2016-03-07 08:05:00


Shanxi, the northern province that has witnessed some of China's worst corruption cases, has paid a heavy price in the country's far-reaching anti-graft campaign, it was revealed on Sunday.

In the past 17 months, discipline authorities have punished 31,164 government officials after investigating 28,668 cases. Thirty-four officials have been handed over to the judicial authorities to face criminal charges.

Wang Rulin, the province's top leader, revealed the figures on the sidelines of the annual NPC session in Beijing.

However, he added that the main point to focus on was that the anti-graft campaign has helped to make local governments more accountable and has resulted in a marked drop in complaints from citizens.

"Having covered all government offices, State-owned enterprises, financial enterprises, and universities and colleges, the campaign is beginning to bring tangible benefits to local people.

"We're not only cracking down on high-level corruption, but also corruption that directly affects people's livelihoods at the grassroots level," Wang said, adding that of those probed, 15,612 were village cadres.

China launched its sweeping drive to combat graft among high-and low-ranking officials, - referred to as "tigers and flies" by President Xi Jinping - in November 2012.

As many as 129 provincial officials have been placed under investigation since September 2014, when the central government reshuffled the Shanxi leadership.

Today, more people are also turning themselves in, according to Wang, who said that last year alone 1,556 voluntarily confessed to accepting bribes and surrendered the money.

"There's a big difference between officials who admit their wrongdoings and ones who try to evade investigation. We'll deal with each case individually."

The fallout from the corruption drive has resulted in 300 vacancies across various provincial departments, but Wang said the province is in no hurry to fill them.

The key thing is "clearing up the rules for selecting officials", he said. For example, "No cases of people paying bribes to secure government jobs were reported last year."

Wu Zhenglong, the top official of provincial capital Taiyuan, said opportunities for corruption increased during the urbanization process, which has seen many villages go through large-scale renovation. The city has dealt with 300 such cases, he said.

Coal mining, a main driving force for economic development in Shanxi for many years, has also had many problems with corruption and is now undergoing a major transition.