Cautious welcome for anti-graft wealth disclosure plan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 4:44am

A plan to require senior officials in Guangzhou's Nansha district to disclose details of their overseas trips and the occupations of immediate family members has been cautiously welcomed by analysts and some internet users.

The Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog in Guangdong's provincial capital said on Wednesday that top officials in the city's Nansha New Area would have to disclose their personal assets, including properties and cars, by the middle of next month.

However, a spokesman for the watchdog, Mei Heqing, said the requirements would not apply to all civil servants in the district.

Some officials have transferred their assets and gone to foreign countries to escape corruption probes

The plan was announced after widespread criticism of a Guangdong pilot programme on the declaration of officials' personal assets because of its extensive restrictions on the public disclosure of such information.

Guangdong selected three locations - Zhuhai's Hengqin New Area, Nansha and Shixing county - for the programme.

But Zheng Weiming, chief of Taiping township in Shixing county, disclosed only that he was paid 2,100 yuan (HK$2,590) in basic salary a month, plus allowances.

Mei said Guangzhou would also introduce other measures to curb corruption, including random checks on officials' declarations.

Professor Wang Quanjie , who signed an open letter calling on party cadres to publicly disclose their family assets, said the plan could help curb graft. "Some officials have transferred their assets and gone to foreign countries to escape corruption probes," he said.

"By disclosing foreign trips the officials made, the public can better monitor if there is something suspicious."

A microblogger said action should be taken against officials who make wrong declarations.

Others questioned whether the authorities were bent on pursuing clean governance, referring to recently imposed restrictions on property registry searches.