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Publicizing officials' assets

Updated: 2013-12-06 07:19
( China Daily)

The publication of the personal properties of 128 newly promoted officials at the section head level in Banan District of Southwest China's Chongqing municipality recently can be considered a trial balloon before the implementation of a nationwide system in the near future.

With information such as their savings, motor vehicles, houses, stocks in the name of their family members, and marital status published in the district government bulletin, these officials have been placed under the supervision of the public. Any tip-off about any of them concealing personal properties will lead to their suspension from work until an investigation determines whether the allegations are true or not.

This is a ray of hope that the cage for locking power that Party General Secretary Xi Jinping once referred to is being built, since a mechanism for disclosing the personal properties of government and Party officials for public supervision was first mentioned in 1988.

Despite all the rhetoric from the leaders over the past more than 20 years about the importance of placing power under the supervision of the public, and the public discourse about the necessity for the publication of the personal properties of officials, progress has been slow due to resistance from those in power.

"To implement the system of publishing personal properties of newly promoted officials on a trial basis" has been written into the Party's decisions on deepening reforms adopted at the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in November.

Why does the system only apply to newly appointed officials? Many argue that it is unfair for only those at the bottom to have their personal assets published.

Since resistance from the entire body of officialdom is too strong for the system to be fully implemented in the foreseeable future, it is natural for the soft belly of the officialdom to be selected as the point where a breakthrough can be made.

Far away as the experiment is from the goal of locking all power in the cage of supervision, the move reveals the steadfast resolve of the top authorities to root out corruption.

Yet it will undoubtedly be an uphill battle to push the system forward against the resistance from officialdom.

(China Daily 12/06/2013 page8)