Corruption will have 'nowhere to hide'

By An Baijie (China Daily)
Updated: 2014-03-14 09:17

Premier vows zero-tolerance stance, public release of audit results in fight against graft

Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Thursday to be consistent in fighting graft and to maintain zero tolerance toward corrupt officials.

Public money and power should be regulated by law, Li said at a news conference after the annual session of the National People's Congress, adding that the government will continue to streamline its administrative processes and delegate public power.

The government will release a list of activities that require government approval as soon as possible to set clear boundaries for the exercise of power and to ensure it is not abused, Li said.

"Corruption is the natural enemy of a people's government," he said. "We must put the exercise of power and the use of public money under institutional checks."

The government will carry out comprehensive audits in areas people are highly concerned about, such as land-use transfers and mining rights transfers, Li said.

"We will take institutional steps to ensure that illicit-profit-seeking behavior and corruption will have nowhere to hide," Li said

The Communist Party of China Central Committee, led by General Secretary Xi Jinping, is fighting corruption with firm resolve, Li said.

"No matter who or how senior an official is, if they violate Party discipline and the law, they will be seriously dealt with and punished in line with the law because everybody is equal before the law," he said.

In the Government Work Report delivered on March 5, the premier said that more audit results will be publicly released to facilitate supervision by the people.

"We will make our operations more open, improve the spokesperson system and respond to people's concerns promptly," Li said in the report.

Anti-corruption efforts were a focal point of the annual sessions of the NPC, China's top legislature, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country's top advisory body.

Lyu Xinhua, spokesman for the CPPCC session, told reporters on March 2 that China is serious about imposing severe punishments on corrupt officials, including high-ranking ones.

Last year, 51,306 officials and 37,551 cases were investigated for work-related crimes including bribery and embezzlement - those figures represent an 8.4 percent increase in the number of officials and 9.4 percent in cases - according to the work report of China's top procuratorate.

China's judiciary punished 210 prosecutors in 2013 for violating laws and regulations, as part of an ongoing campaign to "eradicate the black sheep" from the judicial personnel, the report said.

Anti-graft authorities have also launched numerous probes of senior officials since the Party's new leadership was elected during the 18th National Congress of the CPC in November 2012. At least 22 officials at the ministerial level have been investigated.

Most recently, Shen Peiping, vice-governor of Southwest China's Yunnan province, was removed from his post on March 12.

The CPC Central Committee put forward its "eight-point rules" in December to strengthen ties with the people by cleaning up undesirable work styles - extravagance, formalism, bureaucracy and hedonism.

In all, 30,420 people were punished by the disciplinary authorities last year for violating those rules, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC, the country's top anti-graft agency.