Wang Qishan

Surrender your private club VIP cards, China's anti-graft officials are told

Party's top corruption fighter issues deadline for officials to surrender club privilege cards in line with Xi's directive against extravagance

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 May, 2013, 12:07pm


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The Communist Party's top graft-buster has ordered thousands of anti-corruption officials across the mainland to surrender before June 20 any private club VIP cards they hold, state media reported yesterday.

"In a bid to consolidate the eight-point directive, [every single corruption fighter] must undergo the same inspection and procedure … this is by no means a tall order," the head of the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Wang Qishan , told officials in a national video conference, Xinhua reported. "Instead, it is essential and workable and, above all, everybody should be able to do it."

It is essential and workable...and everybody should be able to do it
Wang Qishan

The directive, issued in December after Xi Jinping became party general secretary, required Politburo members to reject extravagance and minimise bureaucratic visits, meetings and empty talk. It was later applied to officials at all levels.

Meanwhile, the party's headquarters yesterday published two sets of regulations governing the formulation of party rules. Xinhua said the new internal regulations stipulate the due process of formulating, revising and abolishing party rules.

It said the new regulations would "confine officials' powers into the cage of systems" - fulfilling another pledge by Xi since he assumed office. The new measures would also improve the management of the plethora of party rules issued by party committees at different levels, it said.

VIP cards for private clubs grew more popular after the eight-point directive was promulgated, when upmarket hotels and restaurants saw a steep decline in official patronage.

Mainland reports suggested that membership fees for some private clubs in Beijing ranged from hundreds of thousands of yuan to up to 10 million yuan (HK$12.5 million) with most requiring no identification and capable of being easily transferred from person to person.

Akin to shopping cards, VIP cards have emerged as a popular form on bribery on the mainland in recent years because they are used to store cash that can be spent on services at the venues.

Professor Wang Yukai of the Chinese Academy of Governance welcomed Wang Qishan's order, saying: " Quite a number of cadres with the anti-corruption watchdog are corrupt themselves. Targeting officials within the disciplinary and prosecution departments is the remedy that suits the case."

Compared with shopping cards, Wang Yukai said, VIP cards were relatively less common and corrupt officials would attract more attention when visiting high-class clubs.