Top officials vow to fight against corruption
By Jiang Zhuqing, Fu Jing and Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-03 06:08
Key central departments yesterday pledged to crack down on bribe-taking by
Joint action was promised by 22 cabinet-level departments at a meeting
convened by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the
Communist Party of China.
The meeting was in response to recent calls by the nation's top leaders,
including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, for stopping officials
abusing their power for personal gain.
Starting from the second quarter of the year, all government agencies will
step up efforts to investigate and ferret out bribe-takers in their offices,
said He Yong, deputy secretary of CCDI, adding that the campaign would last at
least six months.
Individuals found to be involved in serious offences will be severely
punished, he told the meeting attended by members of anti-bribery task forces
from government ministries as well as officials of the National People's
The CCDI official urged all government agencies to come up with detailed
anti-bribery campaigns before March 10, adding that by March 20, all provincial
governments are expected to report to the central government on their own
Vice-Minister of Health She Jing said that the anti-corruption drive in the
healthcare system would focus on the purchase and sale of medicines.
Vice-Minister of Land and Resources Li Yuan said his ministry would
concentrate on corruption in land use and transactions; in exploration of
mineral resources; and in the survey and evaluation of land and resources.
Commercial bribery where enterprises or businesses gain an unfair advantage
or undue favours through bribery widely exists in almost every trade in China,
especially among pharmaceutical companies and property developers.
A recent central government document said commercial bribery was widespread
in six areas: construction, land use, transaction of property rights,
distribution of medicine, government procurement and development of land
Earlier this year, a national anti-bribery leading group was set up, headed
by CCDI and comprising the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing
Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the Supreme People's Court,
and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
Last week, Premier Wen called on government agencies at all levels to make
curbing corruption a priority this year.
Commercial bribery causes great economic losses to the country. Statistics
from the Ministry of Commerce reveal that in the medicine trade alone, 772
million yuan (US$95 million) could be involved in kickbacks each year,
accounting for almost 16 per cent of the industry's revenue.
Many cases of commercial bribery in the industry have been exposed recently.
In Central China's Hunan Province, Wang Daosheng, former deputy
secretary-general of the provincial government, was arrested for helping a
private company buy a local State-owned medicine company for a low price.
The tough business environment has also lured some foreign companies into
A Tianjin-based subsidiary of Diagnostic Products Co Ltd was recently fined
US$4.8 million by the US Department of Justice for bribing doctors in China's
State-owned hospitals for buying its medical equipment and services last year.
Jing Yunchuan, a lawyer at Beijing-based Gaotong Law Service, said the
anti-bribery campaign will change the way many companies and individuals do
Also, bribe-taking is an offence applicable only to civil servants, but
sometimes it is family members or friends taking the bribes. "So I suggest that
the law be revised to rectify the situation,?Jing said.
(China Daily 03/03/2006 page1)