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Watchdog to zero in on top civil servants

By Zhang Yi | China Daily USA | Updated: 2015-03-01 11:02

China's top anti-graft agency will set up eight new permanent offices in central government entities this year in an effort to overhaul and strengthen supervision.

The Central Commission of Discipline Inspection, the country's top watchdog, has opened offices in 59 central government entities since 2004. It will set up offices in more than 140 organs that are under the direct leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the central government.

Setting up supervisory offices inside some of the highest Party and government bodies will enable graft-busters to focus on senior officials. Access to bank accounts and family finances is essential, said Chen Wenqing, deputy head of the watchdog.

"It's part of a wider effort to increase Party oversight and government discipline," Chen said, adding that the offices set up by the commission will focus on areas that are different from those of the existing inside disciplinary commissions.

The CCDI offices will handle cases that involve mid- and high-ranking officials or SOE managers, while the existing disciplinary bodies will be responsible for cases involving lower-ranking officials and staff, Chen said. Because the new offices won't be carrying out regular disciplinary work, top inspectors' hands are freed up to uncover bigger violations involving senior officials, he said.

However, the offices' independence and potential effectiveness have been questioned, as heads of departments or entities tend to interfere, according to People's Daily. To prevent interference, budgets will be kept separate from the entities at which inspectors are stationed, Chen said.

In past years, responsibilities were not clearly delineated, and inspectors often found themselves roped into daily disciplinary tasks while their key supervisory role went unfulfilled, Chen said.

An anti-graft official stationed in a ministry told People's Daily that he had been asked to assist the ministry's Party committee to do daily administrative work, and so supervision was left behind.

Chen vowed to free up staff from work not related to their supervisory mission.


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