Confess now, corrupt officials urged

Updated: 2007-06-08 14:06

China's ruling Communist Party has offered leniency if corrupt officials confess in the latest campaign aimed at reining in graft and corruption, according to the regulation issued on Friday.

Officials across the country have until the end of the month to admit their misconducts, wrongdoings or guilt, Xinhua news agency quoted the Party's Central Discpline Inspection Commission as saying.

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"Leniency can be considered if they take the initiative to tell of their problems," the regulation said. "Those who refuse ... will be seriously dealt with."

Officials are prohibited from taking advantage of their posts to seek unlawful profits, the regulations said in harsh wording.

China has launched successive crackdowns on corruption, saying it has become a make-or-break factor in gaining the confidence of the people in the Party and government and in consolidating the ruling party status.

However, some officials have understandings with businessmen to do the favor first and receive the reward after leaving their jobs -- what Chinese media call "bribe futures."

Under the new regulations, officials are banned from running companies and other investments with people who fund the operations but give handsome dividends to the officials, Xinhua said.

They are also banned from taking earnings from stocks or futures which they did not actually buy.

Other blacklisted bribery includes well-paid nominal jobs -- usually for relatives of the officials -- purchases of property or cars at conspicuously lower than the market price and even deliberate losses by businessmen at gambling tables which would somehow find their way into the officials' pockets.

The "interest" gained by the businessmen in turn normally involves policy favors, approval of lucrative land deals or the granting of contracts in a closed political system that permits few checks and balances on official power.

According to CCDI statistics, 97,260 of the CPC's 70 million members were punished for corruption in 2006.

On May 29 this year, Zheng Xiaoyu, former director of China's State Food and Drug Administration, was sentenced to death by a Beijing court. Zheng was convicted of taking bribes and dereliction of duty.

The court said Zheng "sought benefits" for eight pharmaceutical companies by approving their drugs and medical devices during his tenure as China's chief drug and food official from June 1997 to December 2006.

The bribes taken by Zheng, including cash and gifts, were worth more than 6.49 million yuan (about US$850,000), according to the court. The bribes were given either directly or through his wife and son.

The CCDI reiterated that officials are prohibited from taking advantage of their posts to seek unlawful profits.

Officials are banned from buying commodities such as houses or automobiles at ridiculously low prices from those who ask them for favors. Officials must not accept free gifts of stocks and shares or bribes, the regulations read.

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