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Monopoly bred corruption

China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-12 07:12

With prosecutors filing a lawsuit against Liu Zhijun in the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court on Wednesday, the high-profile corruption case finally entered court proceedings.

Liu, the former railways minister, has been charged with bribery and abuse of power. According to the indictment, Liu took advantage of his position to pursue benefits for others and accepted "especially enormous" bribes, and his malpractices and abuse of power have caused "especially enormous losses". A date is to be set for his trial.

Before his dismissal from his post for serious disciplinary violations in February 2011, Liu had ruled the railways ministry for almost eight years, and he was labeled by many as the person who boosted the country's railways development. During his tenure, Liu launched a large-scale railways investment campaign and promoted the construction of one of the world's largest high-speed railway network.

However, a series of accidents in the last years of his tenure brought growing public concerns over the safety of the country's sprawling rail network and also revealed malpractices and corruption in the railway construction process. In particular, a high-speed train crash in Zhejiang province in July 2011, which killed 40 people, put the country's railways system under scrutiny and exposed problems in the so-called independent empire.

In its latest government restructuring campaign in March, the government decided to dismantle the Ministry of Railways and separated the ministry into administrative and commercial arms. The move is an effort to reduce the bureaucracy that has long accumulated in the monopolistic railways sector and boost efficiency.

It is an extensive consensus that the malpractices and corruption involving the railways can largely be attributed to the sector's unchallenged monopoly while no effective oversight was in place.

Liu's trial is expected to help reveal the real picture behind the series of scandals that have emerged since his downfall. The public also expects the country can learn real lessons from Liu's case from the perspective of system construction.

As the case proceeds, people are expected to further realize the determination of the country's new leadership to put power in the cage of regulations.

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