Opinion / From the Press

Wrong way to fight corruption

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-06 07:04

The local disciplinary commission of a small town in Sichuan province has publicly criticized a primary school teacher for hosting a banquet to celebrate the admission of his daughter to Fudan University in Shanghai, saying that he has violated the creed of the central government's anti-extravagance campaign. But the teacher only had a family get-together, for which he paid from his own pocket. Given the facts, the disciplinary commission has picked on the weak to show their support for the central government's thrift campaign, says an article in Guangming Daily. Excerpts:

"Banquet corruption" (or public funds used to hold banquets), has been on the rise in recent years. And some government officials use all kinds of excuses to organize celebrations so that they can take "red envelopes" (or cash gifts) from people who seek favors from them. The central government's crackdown on corruption is targeted against all such activities.

But the criticism of the teacher, surnamed Xie, is not justified because strictly speaking, he is not a government official and, more importantly, he did not use public funds to organize a get-together for relatives and friends, and did not take bribe from anybody.

The local disciplinary commission officials have gone overboard to interfere in the private life of a citizen. The have singled out an ordinary, and in all probability innocent, schoolteacher when many officials are getting away with serious acts of corruption.

In their enthusiasm to show how serious they are about the anti-corruption campaign, the local disciplinary commission officials have picked on a teacher, drawing scorn from the public. In fact, a person has posted a comment online saying that the local officials are "paranoid and making a big deal out of nothing".

Local officials must see every case in the right context so as not to exceed the limits of discipline inspection in their attempt to right a wrong. Rooting out corruption is a long-term battle, but putting ordinary people's lives under close scrutiny is as repellant as corruption.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily 08/06/2014 page9)

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