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Public backs fight against corruption
( 2002-04-12 11:42 ) (8 )

The Chinese people are swinging behind their government in the fight against corruption as the campaign starts showing more results, a supervision official said Thursday.

An annual survey of 10,000 ordinary citizens shows 70 percent of respondents approved of the government's anti-corruption efforts in 2001, 65 percent believed corruption was to some extent under control, and 69 percent expressed confidence in the hard fought campaign.

These represent an increase of 8 percent, 10 percent and 11 percent respectively over the 1996 figures, Peng Jilong, president of the China Supervision Society, told an international conference on economic reform and good governance, which opened here Thursday.

Official statistics show China's procuratorate filed 36,447 corruption and bribery cases last year. Over 20,000 criminals were punished, including some high-ranking officials.

Peng attributed China's achievements in this regard to enhanced legislation and promotion of democracy in government administration, enterprise and the vast rural areas.

In 1997, the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, made anti-corruption a separate article in the Criminal Law. Anti-corruption provisions have also been included in many other laws and regulations governing corporate governance, accounting, auditing and public servants.

On the other hand, the Chinese government has made democracy building an important approach in preventing corruption.

In the rural areas, heads of villages and members of village committees are all elected through democratic elections. In most villages, representatives are chosen to supervise the village committees' work, including their administrative spending.

The same democratic system has been established in state-owned enterprises, where any major decision in relation to the fundamental interests of the employees must be subject to their supervision.

In response to the call from the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party to maintain closer ties with the masses while firmly doing away with formalism and bureaucratism, many local governments have opened websites to keep the citizens informed of public affairs and ensure their right to supervise government administration and participate in the lawmaking process.

"Supervision by the masses has been an important force in combating corruption," said Peng Jilong.

According to Peng, nearly 80 percent of the major corruption cases in recent years were unveiled by the people.

"Corruption is not altogether fearsome, but what matters is the determination and capacity of the government to curb corruption," said Peng.

Earlier reports said the Beijing Municipal People's Government introduced what is known as a "sunshine" policy at the start of the year, under which all government officials are required to declare major personal interests such as house building or purchasing, sending children to study abroad and wedding ceremonies of their children. It aims to put all major activities under the scrutiny of the public so as to maintain clean government.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government will join with international bodies through bilateral and multilateral exchanges to prevent illicit properties from being hidden overseas in line with international covenants and bilateral agreements.

The two-day conference, which aims to address corruption in transition economies, is sponsored by the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for International Private Enterprises and the World Bank. 



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