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Protect privacy and combat corruption

Updated: 2013-02-21 19:39
( China Daily)

Some places have tightened their control of searches for property-ownership information. It is right to protect citizens' privacy. But this is not an excuse to hide corrupt officials' illegal property wealth, says an editorial in China Business News. Excepts:

After many corrupt officials' illegal wealth was exposed on the Internet recently, the local authorities' subsequent actions seem to go against the overall anti-corruption trend in cyberspace.

The housing administration authority should balance the needs of combating corruption and protecting citizens' privacy. Lawmakers should play their role in the process of seeking a balance by making more detailed and well-targeted laws to put the housing administration authority's rules on the right track.

China has a whole set of anti-corruption laws, which are not well enforced given the widespread corruption. China does not yet have special laws to protect citizens' privacy. The best means to protect citizens' privacy is to pass the special laws but not let the administration authority issue one regulation after another.

Admittedly, officials have the same privacy rights as other citizens. But they also have more chances than their civil counterparts to abuse their power. So it is necessary, as the international conventions prove, to construct an effective supervision system to monitor their property wealth, which is conducive to finding evidence of corruption.

The reason why common people are so eager to look for officials' property information is that an effective supervision system has not yet worked well in China.