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Sunshine policy to fight corruption in China's capital
The Beijing Municipal People's Government has recently introduced what is known as "sunshine" policy in a bid to curb corruption and build a clean government.
According to the policy, all government officials are required to declare such major personal matters as building or purchasing of housing, sending children to study abroad, wedding ceremonies of their children, that is, putting all the major activities under the scrutiny of the public.
The move is reminiscent of the unwritten practice more than two decades ago when government officials and members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) were required to report on their major personal matters as choosing spouses in order to ensure political integrity.
The reinstating of the practice is the call of the current ratcheting anti-corruption campaign of the Chinese capital to save its face marred by the corruption case of former vice mayor Wang Baosen in 1995. Wang committed suicide when he learned that he was investigated on charges of corruption.
Earlier the income declaration system was introduced for leading officials.
According to Liu Qi, mayor of Beijing, major matter and income declaration constitute only part of the 35 tasks identified by the city government with regard to improving Party style of work, building a clean government and fighting corruption.
Other tasks include open administrative affairs, public recruiting of government officials, and economic auditing of officials during their terms of office.
At the current annual session of the National People's Congress, Beijing Mayor Liu Qi told reporters that Beijing is determined to make the 2008 Summer Olympic Games not only the "best" but also the "cleanest" ever staged.
"All the major preparations will be made public on the Internet, and the process of preparations will be made transparent, " said the mayor, who is the president of the organizing committee.
He said financial and engineering supervision subcommittees have been set up under the organizing committee, including independent supervisors from all walks of life.
Corruption still remains one of the top concerns of the general public in China, according to a recent survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, although great successes have been made to arrest the momentum of growth of corruption.
Over the years, the central authorities have been firm in reining in corruption and the anti-corruption stance has been toughened.
The year 2000 saw a number of high-ranking officials put behind bars or even executed for taking the law into their own hands. They included Cheng Kejie, former vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, and Hu Changqing, former vice-governor of Jiangxi province.
Cheng was the highest ranking official sentenced to death on charges of corruption since 1949 when New China came into being.
Last year, Li Jiating, who resigned as governor of Yunnan province, was stripped of all Party posts, and is facing corruption charges with five other provincial and ministerial level officials. Mu Changxing, former mayor of Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the central authorities have set up thousands of organizations to prevent job-related crimes to match the ratcheting "hit-hard" campaign, in the hope that the two-pronged attack would bring corruption to its knees.
Wei Jianxing, secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, told the ongoing NPC session that the number of major corruption cases handled by the authorities peaked in the period of 1993-1997 and has since kept decreasing.
Surveys of many sectors indicate that people are getting increasingly satisfied with the progress being made in the nationwide anti-corruption drive.
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