Calls to intensify graft battle
By CHRIS YEUNG
THE ruling Communist Party has issued new demands for its rank and file to intensify the battle against corruption this year, according to a senior party official.
Wei Jianxing, politburo member and head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, made the plea at its second plenum to review the anti-graft battle since August last year.
The theme of the next stage of campaign was summarised in the title of his speech, ''Intensify and sustain anti-corruption to serve reform, development and stability''.
Mr Wei said that the past seven months of the anti-graft drive had ''achieved initial results and reached the expected demands''.
The progress of the campaign had been healthy, he said, and had helped to uphold political stability, facilitate reform and guarantee the full implementation of the macro-control measures over the economy.
Mr Wei reported that more than 42,000 party members had been disciplined in the period from September to December last year.
During the same period, the total number of major bribery and corruption cases had more than doubled from the corresponding period in 1992.
The senior official said the Finance Ministry and the State Planning Committee had abolished a total of 143 types of unlawful fees and charges.
A staggering 5,227 items of illicit fees and charges had been declared void by local governments across the nation, said Mr Wei in a report by Xinhua (the New China News Agency).
Local authorities have also turned down more than 1,600 applications to travel abroad at official expense which were found to contravene official requirements, the anti-graft head said.
China launched a nationwide crackdown against corruption last summer, warning greedy cadres that the authority of the ruling party would be eroded and the effectiveness of reforms jeopardised if they failed to fully implement party policy.
In spite of reports of a massive crackdown on corruption, no senior officials have been sent to jail or given heavy penalties for charges of corruption.
Declaring that the major anti-corruption tactics would continue this year, Mr Wei ordered greater efforts to improve self-discipline, strengthen investigations into corruption cases and correct unhealthy trends.
The official said leading cadres should stop malpractices of buying luxurious vehicles, refurnishing their houses and buying flats for their relatives, organising banquets to make profits, and engaging in profitable activities by using government funds.
Mr Wei said investigation into major cases of corruption by party and government officials as well as executive authorities should be stepped up.
Some ''typical and major cases'' should be publicised to deter others from graft involvement, he added.
Efforts to strengthen supervision over unhealthy trends such as the collection of illicit fees should be made, he said.
Mr Wei said the anti-corruption task this year remained arduous and the degree of difficulty was large, adding that party committees and governments at all levels should intensify their battle to attain quick results.