Troubleshooters heading for regions
By CHRIS YEUNG
THE Communist Party is to send working teams into the regions to investigate violations of law and discipline among cadres, as part of its high-profile crackdown against corruption.
In a frank admission of the malpractices of official involvement with smuggling activities, vice-premier Li Lanqing warned that rampant smuggling could weaken the power of the ruling party if left unchecked, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) reported.
Ta Kung Pao said yesterday that working teams would fan out to the provinces and departments in late October to inspect the implementation of the anti-corruption drive.
Officials from the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate will look into ''major cases'' of violations of laws.
Investigators from the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection would handle matters related to the violation of party and government discipline, the report said.
The nationwide investigations followed a high-level anti-corruption conference in Beijing last week.
The report said some delegates to the conference had played down the importance of ''achieving noticeable results'' in the crackdown before the end of the year.
Delegates admitted that one major difficulty in the anti-corruption drive was interference from bureaucrats during investigations.
The report said the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection would publish a set of revised regulations on the handling of complaints within the party.
The commission and the Ministry of Supervision would also set up a telephone hotline for the public to file complaints against violators of law and discipline.
According to Xinhua, Mr Li underlined the severity of official corruption and smuggling during an inspection tour of the eastern province of Shandong, one of the gateways for much of the country's contraband.
''[Smuggling] may shake the ruling status of the Communist Party and the people's regime and force the country off the course of building socialism,'' he said.
''Rampant smuggling has disturbed the country's economic order, corroded officials, polluted the social conduct and damaged the environment of economic construction,'' Mr Li said.
He admitted that central Government's exorbitant import taxes had persuaded many officials to smuggle.
But he warned that their crimes would be dealt with severely.
''Many smugglers committed the crimes under the banner of making profits for their [work] units, but in fact they are working for personal gain,'' he said.
In a related development, four people in the Shanghai stock exchange were jailed for seven to 20 years for embezzlement.