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More effort to crush corruption
( 2003-12-30 01:40) (China Daily)

On Monday Wang Huaizhong, former vice-governor of East China's Anhui Province, was sentenced to death after being convicted of corruption. He was found guilty of taking bribes valued at 5.17 million yuan (US$623,000) and possessing 4.8 million yuan (US$578,300) that he could not account for.

Wang thus becomes the third beheaded provincial- and ministerial-level official since the country kicked off the reform and opening up drive in the late 1970s, following Hu Changqing, former vice-governor of Jiangxi Province, and Cheng Kejie, former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Wang was one of the 13 officials at the provincial and ministerial level who were dealt with this year.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the government are not talking emptily. Their determination and sincerity to eliminate corruption is beyond question.

No doubt, the zero tolerance displayed by the CPC and the government towards corrupt officials will win them greater trust and support from the public.

While relentlessly dealing with corrupt officials, equal attention should be placed on ferreting out the conditions that nurture corruption.

In this regard, Wang's case provides much food for thought.

After taking office as deputy secretary of the municipal committee of the CPC in Fuyang city of Anhui Province in 1993 he got promoted every two years, finally attaining the rank of vice-governor in 1999.

It was during this period that Wang committed his crimes. He took bribes and initiated projects to curry favour with higher-level officials, which caused enormous losses to local economies.

Though igniting great public resentment among local residents, Wang, relying on those "image projects,'' won acclaim from his seniors and cheated his way up.

This exposes major loopholes in the system of selecting and promoting officials, and in the supervision of work performance.

Under such circumstances officials like Wang are encouraged to be responsible only to their seniors instead of the public. Everything they do is aimed at pleasing higher-ranking officials, rather than serving the interest of local people.

Wang received the punishment he deserved. But with an absence of efficient checks, he will not be the last one.

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