Graft prevention body to be set up

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-14 07:09

China plans to set up a State-level agency that will report directly to the State Council, or the Cabinet, as part of efforts to reinforce the anti-corruption drive.

At a press conference in Beijing yesterday, Gan Yisheng, deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China, said the government is "preparing actively" for "an agency specialized in corruption prevention".

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The proposed "national corruption prevention bureau" will follow some effective anti-corruption practices overseas, he said.

Gan said the institution will help fulfil China's commitments to the UN Convention Against Corruption, which the country signed in 2005. The UN General Assembly adopted the convention in 2003.

Gan declined to reveal the new agency's structure, but said corresponding units would be established at the provincial level.

Currently, anti-corruption bureaus are affiliated to the prosecutors' offices.

Qu Wanxiang, deputy director of the Ministry of Supervision, told China Daily that the new agency would be directly under the State Council.

Li Chengyan, a professor of the administration of public affairs at Peking University, said the agency would probably consist of officials from the Ministry of Supervision, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

He said a government agency which orchestrates all political and judicial resources to fight corruption is definitely needed.

At the press conference, Gan said the anti-corruption drive is making progress as the number of such cases has been on the decline since 2003, but added that it would be "impossible" to stem out corruption in a short time.

He said that 97,260 officials 0.14 percent of all Party members were subject to disciplinary punishment last year.

Of them, 78,980, or 81.2 percent, were punished because of dereliction of duty or violation of financial and economic discipline; and 3,530 were turned over to judicial departments.

Gan said that the investigation of some leading officials at the provincial and ministerial level last year showed the central government's firm determination to stamp out corruption.
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Many people share the impression that the CPC's and the government's harsh words on corruption were increasingly matched with serious enforcement.

Among them was Chen Liangyu, former Party secretary of Shanghai, who was toppled for alleged involvement in the city's social security fund scandal.

Chen is the highest ranking official sacked for corruption in the past decade.

"The resolve of the Party to investigate Chen demonstrates that if an official violates the Party's discipline and the law, he will be investigated and severely punished no matter how high his position or whoever he is," Gan said.

He said cases of severe disciplinary violations that were turned over to judicial organs dropped 10.9 percent over the previous year.

(China Daily 02/14/2007 page1)

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