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High officials caught embezzling, taking bribes
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-22 00:53

Corruption is once again in the spotlight after a chief discipline inspector in Central China's Hunan Province was linked to economic crimes.

The case involving Luo Ziguang, secretary of the Loudi Municipal Commission for Discipline Inspection of CPC (Communist Party of China), is a signal that corruption has corroded the supervising system.

Shao Daosheng, a special researcher of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of CPC said the country's anti-corruption departments and the Party's discipline inspection branches have become major targets.

Luo was put under disciplinary detention in April, said a Beijing-based weekly called Oriental Outlook.

According to the report, Luo "let out municipal Party committee's secrets, took part in activities organized by illegal groups and viciously assaulted provincial leaders."

Last week, the Hunan Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection of CPC declared Luo was related to "economic irregularities involving huge amounts of money," and the provincial People's Procuratorate has taken "tough measures" against him.

Judicial departments have also begun to investigate the case.

A low-key official, Luo was once regarded as upright by many, reported China Youth Daily.

He held a secretary position in supervising department and a concurrent post at Loudi Party Committee as deputy secretary.

Many officials in Loudi were shocked to learn Luo was in custody.

His driver allegedly said that "Luo is the cleanest leader that I have ever seen."

But an anonymous official who also works at Luo's commission was quoted as saying that Luo just kept up a spotless public image.

The official said Luo formed political cliques and faked achievements.

According to Oriental Outlook, Luo once accepted a huge bribe from a factory leader to send his child to study overseas.

Still, Luo is not the only high-level leader connected to corruption in Hunan.

Peng Jinyong, former secretary of the Changde City Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC in Hunan was sentenced to 16 years in jail by Yueyang Intermediate People's Court earlier this month.

Peng, who was also deputy head of the city Party committee, was accused of taking bribes, embezzlement and failure to account for his personal wealth, said People's Daily.

The 58-year-old Peng, who once moved many with his clean image, accepted bribes and gifts on 18 occasions totalling 615,600 yuan (US$74,400) between 1998 and 2003.

Meanwhile, he embezzled 155,000 yuan (US$19,000) using fake account bills, reported People's Daily.

Peng told China Youth Daily he will appeal to a higher court.

Shao told China Daily it is not easy job to eliminate corruption.

Shao, a former researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has been researching corruption for two decades.

In an article posted on the website of the People's Daily, Shao suggested the government curb corruption through reforms.

"The leading official in a department is too powerful, and a considerable number of them 'have problems,'" he said.

In addition, public supervision ought to be strengthened, said Shao.

"Several matters have showed that to some extent, effective supervision could prevent officials from being eroded," he said.

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