China / Government

Watchdog: Sales of paintings, calligraphy cover up bribery

By Zhang Yi (China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-29 07:58

President Xi Jinping told government officials to quit positions in art groups, including calligraphy and painting associations, according to the website of People's Daily.

Retired officials are also prohibited from holding positions in the associations, the website said.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection expressed concerns on Wednesday over government officials moonlighting in social organizations and called for a crackdown on "refined bribes", in which calligraphy and painting serve as a conduit for corruption.

China's top anti-corruption department also said that officials in the Party committees of the General Administration of Sport and in Shaanxi province have been making money on the side, and that problems in their management remain acute after they were asked to exercise Party disciplines.

The commission urged government officials to immediately quit positions in various associations and organizations, and asked them to stop developing "corruption gangs" under the guise of institutions.

In response to the call from the anti-graft body, the country's General Administration of Sport rolled out a plan to prohibit its officials from holding positions in its affiliated associations, including the auto sport association and the motorcycle sport association.

The administration said it will separate itself from 16 non-sports associations and carry out a national reform in sports management.

In Shaanxi, calligraphy associations still serve as a hotbed of corruption. Although eight officials quit deputy positions in the provincial association, some officials still hold deputy positions.

Calligraphy has long been revered as an art in China, but works of calligraphy have been used to legitimize bribes from businesspeople who "purchase" pieces by officials at exorbitant prices.

When the anti-corruption watchdog in Jiangsu province investigated collusion between real estate developers and Jiang Guoxing, deputy head of the press and publication bureau in the province, the authority found that developers had paid 100,000 yuan ($16,250) for Jiang's handwriting.

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