Communist Party watchdog to launch 5-year war on graft

Disciplinary commission plan includes spot checks on senior officials’ assets and push to ensure local governments stick to Beijing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 January, 2013, 4:52am

The Communist Party's disciplinary watchdog will draft and launch a five-year anti-corruption plan this year and start spot checks on senior officials' declared personal assets and particulars in the latest effort to curb graft.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection also said in a communiqué after a two-day meeting that all party members should "firmly uphold the authority and seriousness of the party's constitution".

The watchdog said it would make ensuring local governments implemented central authorities' policies and orders its top priority this year.

Party general secretary Xi Jinping told the meeting on Tuesday that the party would crack down on senior and low-ranking corrupt officials and restrict officials' power by "confining them in the cage" of a regulatory system.

"A disciplinary, prevention and guarantee mechanism should be set up to ensure that people do not dare to, are not able to and cannot easily commit corruption," he said.

Ren Jianming, an anti-corruption scholar at Beihang University who was involved in forming the anti-corruption plan for 2013-2017, said it might be finished by June.

The commission also said yesterday it would crack down on commercial bribery, as well as focusing on graft in sectors including finance, telecoms, education, medicine and land.

The communiqué said government organs should accept both public and media supervision and curb spending on official functions, government buildings and official tours.

It also said the disciplinary body would "earnestly implement" rules requiring officials to report "relevant issues related to individuals".

Rules issued in July 2010 required officials in government agencies and state-owned enterprises to report everything from personal assets to the business activities of spouses and children. But the extent of implementation is unknown, with public disclosure of such information not mandatory.

Critics say corruption is too deeply ingrained to be solved by things like spot checks.

"It is far from enough. The spot checks have no standard and could be a political game," said Chen Ziming , an independent scholar who closely follows politics. "People want the party officials to disclose their assets, it's that simple."

Ma Huaide, deputy director of the China University of Political Science and Law, said the notion of public disclosure of officials' assets had been around for years, but because so many party members were corrupt it was very difficult to make it happen.