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Survey suggests gov't corruption on the wane
When the Horizon Market Research Co did a survey in 1999, "a clean government" topped all other issues as the Chinese public's most serious concern.
A similar survey conducted last year by the same company - one of the most influential market research companies in China - found that the issue had lost weight. It ranked sixth.
"I think the toughest time for our fight against corruption may be passing," said Fang Ning, a research fellow with the Institute of Political Science under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "There is no doubt that the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese Government have sincerity and determination in solving this problem (corruption)," said Fang. "Heavy social pressure and moral education have kept a tight rein on officials so that they do not dare to (engage in corruption) or at least do not dare to misbehave as openly as in the past."
China's fight against corruption started as early as the 1950s, shortly after the founding of the People's Republic. However, there was an obvious turn for the worse in the 1990s when more and more high-ranking officials got slapped with corruption charges and the amount of money embezzled or taken as bribes increased.
"The task against corruption has been made even more difficult because China has undergone a rapid transition from a planned economy to a market economy," said an official with the research office under the CPC Central Committee for Discipline Inspection, who declined to be identified.
"Since reform and opening-up (which began in the late 1970s) China has unremittingly committed itself to building a honest, assiduous, down-to-earth and efficient government," said He Yong, minister of supervision, early in November.
Statistics from the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection indicate that between October, 1992 and the first half of this year, discipline inspection departments nationwide filed nearly 1.6 million cases and disciplined more than 1.51 million people. More than 259,000 people have been expelled from the Party for misconduct.
High-ranking officials that fell prey to the anti-corruption drive include former vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee Cheng Kejie, former vice-governor of Jiangxi Province Hu Changqing, former governor of Yunnan Province Li Jiating, former deputy governor of Hebei Province Cong Fukui, former vice-minister of public security Li Jizhou and former Shenyang mayor Mu Suixin.
Meanwhile, the nation's disciplinary departments have probed more than 690,000 cases of economic crime during the same period, according to official figures.
Over the years, China has developed a set of laws and regulations to deal with corruption, including a disciplinary regulation within the CPC and a law on administrative supervision.
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