State council acts to rebuild public faith
A State Council meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday vowed to improve the level of credibility and integrity in mainland society, following a glaring deterioration of morality in various sectors.
The meeting was held just a day after the Communist Party Central Committee concluded its annual plenary session by announcing plans to boost cultural development and prevent moral decay.
A Xinhua report yesterday said Tuesday's plenum had decided to 'put trust-building in a predominant position and big efforts should be made to improve credibility in politics, commerce and society'.
Two weeks ago, Wen took the central bank governor, finance minister and other key financial officials to Wenzhou, Zhejiang, where a credit crisis has plunged many companies deep into debt to private lenders and sent some high-profile entrepreneurs into hiding.
Yesterday's cabinet meeting said the lack of credibility and trust was a much broader problem.
'Citizens have been highly disturbed by rampant commercial deception, the making and selling of fake goods, the falsification of economic records and claims and academic plagiarism,' Xinhua quoted the meeting as saying.
Many examples of unethical business operations have been exposed in recent years, from the manufacture of adulterated milk powder to the mislabelling of cheap goods as superior products to boost profits.
The widespread recycling of gutter oil and news that more than a dozen people ignored an injured two-year-old girl who was hit by two vehicles have also shocked the public.
Yesterday's communique called for government agencies at various levels to pay attention to the rebuilding of trust in society and the development of a society-wide credibility system to protect those with good records and punish those who transgress 'in order to shore up the moral assurance' of the mainland's economic and political system.
The State Council said a comprehensive credit registration system would be established before 2015 to record, collect, integrate and use information about the standing of 'members of society'.
Six priorities were outlined; the first is to draft laws and regulations for handling disputes.
Databases should be set up to record information about the creditworthiness of individuals, companies and non-profit organisations, including their tax payments and product quality, and be shared nationwide.
Other measures include better supervision of credit-rating agencies.
Economists and financial officials have been calling for an expanded national creditworthiness system for years. The State Council last issued a document on the issue in March 2007 but little actual progress has been reported since then.