Strict targets set for weeding out graft

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 January, 2008, 12:00am

Party watchdog says fight against corruption will be given strong emphasis in Games year

The Communist Party's graft watchdog has ordered tougher measures against corruption and poor discipline, setting out specific targets as it wrapped up a three-day plenary session yesterday.

A communique released by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said the fight against corruption should be given particular emphasis this year, as China braced itself for the Olympics and marked the 30th anniversary of its 'open-door' reforms.

It warned local officials they would be closely watched to ensure they carried out Beijing's orders on key issues such as controlling prices, saving energy, curbing fixed-asset investment, and improving land management and the property market.

The anti-graft authority said it would punish cadres who took advantage of their positions to engage in insider trading on the stock market, or allowed their spouses or children to use their names to gain advantages in business.

President Hu Jintao made a keynote speech during the meeting and vowed to crack down hard on corruption - a main source of the social unrest that has threatened to undermine the party's rule.

Anti-corruption work by the party's disciplinary body is often used as a powerful political weapon to get rid of rivals and win popularity.

The communique also promised to solve problems faced by the public, including environmental protection, food and drug safety, work safety, land seizures and forced demolitions. It vowed to clamp down on collusion between officials and businesspeople, particularly in cases that involved trading sex or money for power.

It said it would launch severe crackdowns against corruption in construction projects, land management and the exploitation of natural resources. It would pursue wrongdoing in state-owned enterprises, the financial sector, government organisations and the judiciary.

The watchdog said the party would combine anti-graft education in its training programmes and in assessing cadres for promotion.

It also vowed to step up efforts to curb the illicit acceptance of cash and financial instruments, or gifts on special occasions.

The watchdog would aim to weed out all insider trading by cadres, as well as their possession of extra apartments. It wants to stop people circumventing the rules on the purchase of affordable housing that is intended for low- and mediumincome earners.

The crackdown would also focus on officials who seek to profit from involvement in construction bids, land sales, trading of property rights and government procurement.

Officials who buy or sell official posts or use social connections with upper-level officials to solicit promotions, and those who offer bribes during elections, would be severely punished, it added.

It pledged strict implementation of public bidding for construction projects, the lease of business and industrial land, and government procurement.

The watchdog said it would improve the management of graft busters stationed in government ministries, agencies and state enterprises to step up supervision of the heads of such organisations.