Graft tip-offs by e-mail allowed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 May, 2009, 12:00am

People now may report corruption by e-mail and fax, and Beijing has strengthened its protection of informers as the public continues to fear retaliation if officials get into trouble as a result of a tip-off.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate had announced a revised regulation on Monday to encourage tip-offs, Xinhua reported yesterday.

The e-mail and fax methods joined the more traditional ways to report officials - writing letters, phone calls and being interviewed by someone in a supervisory office.

To give informants better protection, the revised regulation prescribes that officials in charge of procuratorates and supervisory offices at various levels receive informants and deal with their reports in person. It also promises that information about the corruption and the informants' identities will be kept secret.

Higher rewards - up to 200,000 yuan (HK$227,400) - will also be introduced to encourage participation in the fight against corruption. Informants who are dissatisfied with the results of the investigations may appeal to the superior procuratorate.

Official statistics show that more than 60 per cent of major and serious corruption cases uncovered by the procuratorates each year originate from tip-offs by the public.

'The revised regulation shows the determination of the central government to fight against corruption because tip-offs are the main tool on the mainland to curb the rampant problems,' Zou Xueping of the Shenzhen University Law School said. 'We have to wait and see what effect it has. We see too many cases of people being sacked or even arrested after tip-offs and appeals to higher authorities or even the central government for help.'

A survey published in March by the China Youth Daily showed that nearly 40 per cent of respondents would not report corruption to authorities because they did not believe justice would follow. More than 34 per cent thought they would suffer retaliation.

The number of informants or witnesses killed or seriously injured has increased from fewer than 500 annually in the 1990s to more than 1,200 in recent years, according to mainland media.

In March last year, businessman Li Guofu was found dead in his jail cell in Fuyang , Anhui . He had been arrested in August 2007 on charges of taking bribes and profiteering soon after reporting Zhang Zhian , the Communist Party chief of Yingquan district in Fuyang, for various abuses of power, including farmland abuse and the construction of a luxury government building in a poor Anhui county.

Zhang has been tried for the murder of Li, but no verdict has been announced.