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Prosecutors release data on probe into corruption, promise transparency

By Zhang Yan | China Daily | Updated: 2014-05-15 07:10

China's top prosecutors will hold regular media briefings and tap new-media platforms to provide updates on probes involving corrupt officials, the Supreme People's Procuratorate announced on Wednesday.

"We will conduct regular news conferences and release timely information on proceedings about major corruption cases on our official website and through new-media platforms like micro blogs and mobile-phone messaging, to boost transparency," said Zhang Bencai, spokesman for the procuratorate.

Making good on that promise, the SPP released the results of case investigations dealing with corruption and bribery nationwide in the first quarter. It was the first time in four years the agency has made such information public.

Xu Jinhui, director of the SPP's anti-corruption and bribery bureau, said that between January and March, national prosecuting departments investigated a total of 8,222 cases of corruption and bribery, up 24 percent year-on-year. The cases involved 10,840 people, up 19.8 percent.

National prosecutors during that time handled 6,759 major corruption cases, accounting for 82 percent of the total number of cases investigated, an increase of 26.9 percent year-on-year.

They investigated 661 suspects with positions above the county level, including 57 officials above the bureau level, Xu said.

Cases are considered major when the amount of money involved is more than 100,000 yuan ($16,000) or if the officials are above county level, according to the SPP.

The figures it released showed that, in the first quarter, national prosecutors completed investigations on 4,904 officials, an increase of 16.4 percent year-on-year. They also charged 3,095 suspects, up 19.6 percent year-on-year.

National prosecutors have made improvements in the handling of corruption cases, Xu said.

"Quality and efficiency make up the lifeline of anti-corruption work, preventing erroneous accusations and miscarriages of justice," Xu said.

Prosecutors will intensify their efforts to target serious corruption and bribery and to ensure that those guilty are severely dealt with under the law, he said.

Prosecuting departments will also step up the hunt for corrupt officials who have fled the country, and will closely monitor "naked officials" - those who have sent their spouses and children overseas to live or study - for signs of graft, he said.

The departments will also improve law enforcement processes, such as making audio and video recordings during interrogations, he said.

Hong Daode, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said the sharp increase in the number of major corruption cases uncovered shows a genuine determination to fight graft.

"The key is to prevent corrupt officials from escaping to other countries and transferring their assets through money laundering or underground banks," Hong said.

Prosecuting departments should intensify cooperation with the financial sector to track the illegal flow of property and assets, ban corrupt officials from leaving the country and trace those who are hiding abroad, he said.

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