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Plan to cage corruption

China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-29 09:52

"Complicated" and "grave" are the words the Party leadership used when announcing a five-year program against corruption on Monday.

It is complicated because corrupt officials employ every means possible to attain and get away with illegal gains. And with an increasing number of power abusers being busted, officials will become ever more careful about hiding their embezzling and taking of bribes.

It is grave because there is still an environment that breeds corruption: Decision-making power concentrated within the hands of leading officials at various levels and the lack of effective supervision over the exercising of power allow opportunities for officials to abuse the power within their hands for personal gains.

It is unrealistic to expect the campaign to achieve an overall triumph in a short period of time with the situation such as it is. Yet painstaking efforts must be made to consolidate and reform the mechanisms that crack down on and preempt abuse of power.

This is where much can be expected of the new anti-graft program as it includes reform of the Party's discipline inspection mechanism, the strengthening of other anti-graft mechanisms and unifying the administration of local disciplinary watchdogs. The plan also involves improving the system whereby the central authorities send ombudsmen to local governments.

Party leader Xi Jinping has said that power should be kept in the cage of institutions, and the five-year anti-graft program is meant to build such a cage.

Yet, it is easier said than done. It goes without saying that making and strengthening mechanisms that are meant to keep the exercising of power in check will meet strong resistance from officials at all levels. That officials are still to declare their personal properties, something which has been talked about for many years, shows just how difficult it will be to overcome this resistance.

This new five-year plan has provided a roadmap showing how the central authorities will navigate the fight against corruption. But while we are optimistic about what the campaign can achieve in the long run, we must be prepared for a bumpy journey along the way.

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