CHINA> National
Officials report no extra pay
By Chen Jia (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-02-19 07:43

All 1,056 officials in Altay prefecture in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region who declared their income as part of the latest anti-corruption moves said they did not accept any valuable gifts from organizations or individuals related to their work, declarations publicized online showed yesterday.

"This is a reminder to officials, for them to improve their self-discipline and control to prevent corruption," Wu Weiping, Party secretary of the Altay prefecture discipline inspection commission, told Beijing News yesterday.

A total of 1,064 Altay county- and division-level officials in Altay are affected by requirements to declare their income starting this year, but eight have not responded yet, Wu said. Of these, three were arrested for corruption before the requirement came into effect, three postponed their submissions because they were traveling and two are on medical leave.

The declaration in Altay is divided into two parts. The first includes officials' annual salaries, subsidies and other income from activities such as giving lectures and authoring books.

The second part, which will be restricted from public view, includes officials' income from the stock market, inheritance and lotteries, as well as any fixed assets of more than 100,000 yuan. Officials are also required to report monetary gifts or those given to their parents, spouses and children.

Only disciplinary officials have access to information under this second part, as officials "also have the right to privacy".

"It is progress to put officials' income under public supervision for the first time, and media should be permitted to play more important role in the campaign against corruption," Wang Lin, an associate professor of law at Hainan University, told China Daily yesterday.

The central government and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued two regulations in 1995 and 2001, requiring officials to declare their income. But these were only limited to officials' salary and subsidies, with the information unavailable to the public or the media.

"We didn't find yawning gaps among officials in Altay from their declarations," Wang said.

For example, the annual income of Deputy Chief of Qinghe county Li Jinsong tops this list at 35,340 yuan, and the lowest annual income is 27,048 yuan for Deputy Chief of Habahe county Gai Geqing.

"It is no surprise that officials decline to say that they accepted valuable gifts, and the government should have other channels to confirm whether their declarations tell the truth," Wang said.

Online discussion about the issue spiked yesterday, with many saying the declaration would turn out to be a show if no officials admitted to have extra income besides salary and subsidies.

Wu said a few officials admitted that they have secondary housing assets, and some of them worked in Altay but own a house and car in other cities, according to the Beijing News report.