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6,953 officials probed for power flop
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-26 22:51

Chinese prosecutors investigated 6,953 officials suspected of abuse and dereliction of duty in the first nine months of this year, up 2.6 per cent compared with the same period last year, the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) said Tuesday.

Since June, the country's top prosecuting authority has launched a nationwide campaign to crack down on officials who abuse their power, and its efforts have paid off, SPP's deputy procurator-general Wang Zhenchuan said at a press conference.

A total of 1,780 officials were found to have been involved in 1,456 cases of abuse of power or negligence, Wang said.

The crackdown aims to prevent officials from violating the legitimate rights and interests of common Chinese people and reduce the chance of such occurrences.

It focuses on illegal detainment and search, obtaining evidence and prosecuting crimes through illegal means, election fraud, and mistreating detainees, as well as neglect of duty that leads to severe life and economic losses.

Bai Qixiang and Li Tingjun, vice-directors of Zhoupeng Division of Fuyang Industrial and Commercial Bureau's Yinquan Branch in East China's Anhui Province, were among those who have been investigated in the crackdown.

They were respectively given 24 months and 30 months imprisonment in August after the local procuratorate took them to court in July.

The two were accused of dereliction in dealing with local people's complaints about a seller of poor quality milk powder, which led to a child's death. Besides taking bribes, Bai was also found to have forged legal documents to cover the truth.

Most of the investigated officials are from administrative or judicial departments at grass-roots level, said SPP's spokesman Zhang Zhongfang.

"Some officials at grass-roots organizations were found to have poor awareness in regards to respecting and protecting people's rights, they had poor leadership qualities and dealt with their work in a simple and violent way," Zhang said.

Additional efforts will be made to crack down officials involved in cases arising from land acquisitions, house resettlement, reform of state-owned enterprises as well as production and sales of fake and inferior food and medicine, he said.

Letters of complaints about officials' illegal behaviour often poured into his office,, Wang said, adding that he received more than 1,700 letters from June to September.

"I feel heartbroken about the sufferings resulting from some officials' malfeasance," he said.

His procuratorate will also strengthen partnerships with administrative enforcement departments and intensify crackdowns on related cases, Wang said.

SPP is working to map out guidelines in collaboration with the National Audit Office to help the two departments work closely together, Wang said.

Meanwhile, the procuratorate authority is negotiating with the State Administration of Work Safety to crack down on officials who neglect their duties in regards to major workplace accidents, he said.

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