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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 5:54pm
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Fresh call for China's top leaders to declare assets

After politicians in US, France and Russia make public their earnings and wealth, bloggers call on China's top officials to follow suit

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 April, 2013, 4:52am

Chinese internet users have urged the country's top leaders to follow US, Russian and French leaders by making their personal assets public.

A report by Xinhua on its Sina Weibo account on Sunday about asset disclosures by leaders overseas was reposted more than 7,000 times and racked up more than 2,000 comments, making it one of the account's hottest posts.

"We welcome our officials disclosing their households' assets - from the top down, including cadres at every level. It would be the best way to combat corruption," one user of Sina Weibo wrote.

Public grievances in China over the hidden wealth of party officials has been simmering for some time, with many believing that an asset disclosure system is key to tackling graft among officials.

The White House released the tax returns of President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, last Friday, which showed that the couple earned a gross income of US$608,611 last year. This included his salary as president and his book sales.

US Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, reported income of US$385,072 last year.

On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev both posted their own tax reports on the presidential and government websites, indicating that each earned almost 5.8 million roubles (HK$1.4 million) last year.

The French premier and his 37 ministers also published details of their assets on Monday.

"It seems Putin can hardly purchase an apartment in urban Beijing [on his earnings]," one Sina Weibo microblogger wrote sarcastically.

Another posted: "Putin owns much less than a village official in China."

In February, a Shenzhen village official, Zhou Weisi, was arrested on suspicion of paying and accepting bribes, amid allegations he owned more than 80 properties and 20 cars with a total value of more than 2 billion yuan (HK$2.4 billion).

President Xi Jinping has said government corruption is a threat to the Communist Party's legitimacy, and promised to target corruption among both high- and low-ranking officials.

But at the latest meeting of the party's anti-graft agency, no-one voiced support for the introduction of a national system requiring party officials to publicly disclose their assets.

The current requirement for senior officials to declare their assets, without making them public, was perceived by more than 80 per cent of respondents to be ineffective, according to a recent online survey commissioned by the China Youth Daily.

"[President] Xi, when is it our turn?" another microblogger asked.

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This article is now closed to comments

chaz_hen
I have no doubt the assets of very senior leaders in Beijing are modest and low. However, try shining a little sunshine on their children, wives and immediate relatives and it'll get very ugly. Just look at that article about the sellout American banker in HK that is becoming a China "citizen"... it mentions the children of top leaders that hired him and their unsurprisingly high corporate positions and immense...success.
Ask yourself this: ever heard a story of an UNsuccessful Princeling??
HiggsSinglet
In the spirit of party first, national security and social stability, it will never happen!!!! Don't you get it??
hard times !
if the present leaders are confident and clean enough, why can't they declare their assets ? I wonder.This is so-called,' Sunshine Policy' ! Besides, i notice the three frequent 'writers' who used to write in this Commnet column:whymak,bluechinagroup and jkhleung have all never written about any other topics----especially those concern Hong Kong issues or Mainland ones,not to say international ones except focus on: our universal suffrage in 2017 and 'Occupy Central' movement. No wonder they three are suspected as guys sent from the North to monitor our postings on the internet and beat us severely or misleading our vast readers !
Byebye
President Xi Jinping, perhaps wishful thinking, but may I suggest ~ How about setting up a Corruption Reconciliation Body to discreetly ask those who have exceptional assets out of their normal assets return the excess to the Government for constructive uses like buiding schools, hospitals etc for the poor, and then pardon them discreetly? "Discreetly" means not revealing such facts to the public to shame or bring down the persons involved, making sure those involved that such action is a one off pardon. From then on, China can call on the experts, if need be to outsource, to write Laws and Orders on Corruption for the whole nation.
donniemcm
Who will be so dumb to publicly say : "hey I have dozens of properties, cars, a much more asset thanks to corruption money, please arrest me"
qiaohan
The leaders are silent on this for obvious reasons. That is why Bloomberg and the New York times are blocked. The party congress earlier this year was the first time in history so many billionaires (with a B) were ever assembled in one place at the same time. American congressmen are only millionaires.
SpeakFreely
It is meaningless to do so call "declare" if there is no agency like ICAC or media allowed to check it regularly. They can just declare owning close to "nothing" and end of the day who are to challenge them?
SpeakFreely
Unless there is a total revamp of the system, there is no point to push for so called "declare" as no one dare to check the declaration and there are so many ways to get around it.
likingming
Like those one off pardoning HK police decades ago.
lamlm38
first they should hv some kind of amnesty program to pardon past misdeeds then they can disclose their assets.. otherwise China wont hv any body who can govern because they r corrupt to the core!

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