Watchdog warns it will crack down on property corruption
Chow Chung-yan in Shenzhen
The Communist Party's discipline watchdog yesterday said it would crack down on corruption in the booming property market and warned cadres not to abuse their power to help relatives and friends.
Liu Feng, vice-party secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, told Xinhua that one of the priorities this year was to prevent cadres from getting involved in illegal property deals or engaging in stock speculation.
Mr Liu warned that many officials were found to have taken advantage of their positions and had bought property at prices well below market value. Some borrowed other people's houses and vehicles but failed to return them.
Gambling, soliciting kickbacks and engaging in illegal stock speculation were also serious problems, he said.
'These problems will be seriously dealt with,' he told Xinhua. 'Those who breach discipline rules will be punished internally. Those who break the law will face prosecution.'
Mr Liu said discipline inspection commissions at all levels would strengthen supervision in areas that had direct bearing on people's interests - such as property, education and public health.
The party would stringently crack down on money-for-power favours, illegal loans, improper approval of land sales and mining projects, and land grabs, he said.
He also warned cadres not to provide improper help to relatives and friends.
The mainland's red-hot property market has attracted speculators but has also become a major source for corruption.
Several high-profile corruption cases last year involved illegal property deals by officials. Some were also found to have abused their power to help their relatives or friends.
One example is the corruption case of a former Kunming vice-mayor, Hu Xing , who helped his brother develop luxury properties and raked in more than 2 billion yuan from these developments.