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China Issues First Anti-Corruption White Paper, Pledging Firmer Actions
Source: xinhuanet.com
Source Date: Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Country: China
Created: Dec 30, 2010

BEIJING, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- China Wednesday released its first ever white paper on the nation's anti-graft efforts, expressing its resolve to strengthen the fight against corruption.

The document, titled China's Efforts to Combat Corruption and Build a Clean Government, was issued by the Information Office of the State Council, or Cabinet.

Ren Jianming, director of the Anti-Corruption and Governance Research Center at Tsinghua University, said corruption is a sensitive issue, and the white paper shows "China has a more open and cooperative attitude toward the problem."

The report will help eliminate bias and misunderstanding about China's anti-graft battle as it details both achievements and problems, said He Zengke, a researcher at the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, a prominent research institute on Marxism and Chinese policies.

"It will help people develop a correct, objective and comprehensive understanding of China," he said.

China's efforts to combat corruption and build a clean government have been managed systematically and promoted comprehensively and "achieved results," the report said.

From 2003 to 2009, prosecutors at all levels investigated more than 240,000 cases of embezzlement, bribery, dereliction of duty, and rights infringement, according to the report.

From January to November, the Party's discipline watchdogs investigated 119,000 graft cases, resulting in 113,000 people being punished, of whom 4,332 were prosecuted, said Wu Yuliang, secretary general of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of Communist Party of China (CPC), at a press conference Wednesday.

From 2005 until 2009, over 69,200 cases of commercial bribery -- involving some 16.59 billion yuan in funds -- were investigated, it said.

In 2009, some 7,036 officials were held responsible for serious mistakes, breach of duty, and failing to manage and supervise subordinates, the report said.

The report quoted a National Bureau of Statistics survey as saying that 83.8 percent of Chinese thought corruption was reduced to some extent in 2010, which was up from 68.1 percent in 2003.

The document warned that the task of curbing corruption remains arduous.

China has undergone dramatic economic and social change, and the ideas and concepts of the people have altered, leading to increased social conflict, the report said.

"Since the relevant mechanisms and systems are still incomplete, corruption persists, some cases even involving huge sums of money," the report said. "Breaches of law and discipline tend to be more covert, intelligent and complicated."

The CPC and the government understand the "long-haul, complicated and arduous" nature of the anti-graft mission, the report said.

"They will resolutely punish and effectively prevent corruption with more resolutions and powerful measures," the report said.

The report introduces the principles, working mechanisms and legal framework for China's anti-graft system. It also sets out the progress made in combating corruption and international anti-graft cooperation.

Despite the achievements made, more work has to be done to meet the people's expectation for anti-graft efforts, especially with improving the transparency of decision making, He said.

Many difficulties and problems facing the anti-graft work will be solved through the reform of the systems, he said.

On Tuesday the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, the country's central leadership, set objectives for the country's anti-graft mission in the next phase, stressing better anti-corruption supervision on construction projects, public money being held in private account, extravagant ceremonies, and government vehicles.

Prof. Yan Shuhan at the Central Party School said the Communist Party of China should stay sober-minded and persistent in its anti-graft endeavor and face the problems head on.

"In China, the channel is unimpeded for citizens to be involved in the combat against corruption by means of impeaching and lodging lawsuit," the report said.

China's governments have departments to handle letters and calls of complaints and suggestions from the people.

In addition, discipline inspection organs of the CPC, procuratorates, and government supervisory and audit departments have all established tip-off systems with hotlines and websites.

The report also noted that the Internet has become a new form of supervision by the public.

"China highly values the positive role played by the Internet in enhancing supervision," the report said.

The country has worked hard to collect, research and manage the anti-graft information it has obtained from the Internet, it said.

Prof. Wang Wei at the Chinese Academy of Governance said what is behind the hotlines and Internet supervision was the government's growing willingness to take onboard public comment and criticism and the public's increasing awareness of their role in combating corruption.

For full text, please click here (in Chinese), or here (in English).
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