Zhou Yongkang

China anti-graft agency denies going on political witch-hunt

Watchdog defends corruption crackdown, which is accused of being used to silence political opponents, as comprehensive and unbiased

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 April, 2014, 3:16am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 April, 2014, 3:16am

The mainland's anti-graft watchdog has hit back at suggestions that its corruption crackdown is in fact a political witch-hunt in disguise.

The Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection published a 2,000-character article on its website defending its campaign as broad and unbiased.

The publication of the article suggests, however, that the agency is encountering some resistance as it carries out the campaign President Xi Jinping launched in 2012.

Dozens of senior government officials have since been detained for investigation, including former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee.

The claim that the anti-graft work was selective is groundless
Du Zhizhou, article's author

Some have speculated that the campaign is being used by the leadership to silence political enemies.

"The claim that the anti-graft work was selective is groundless," wrote the article's author, Du Zhizhou. Du is an executive director of the Anti-Corruption Research Institute at Beihang University in Beijing.

Corruption was present not just in the centres of government power, but also across various elements of society, Du wrote.

He said the anti-graft agency's work had been comprehensive, scrutinising party and government organisations, the military, state-owned enterprises, and universities and colleges.

"Comprehensive coverage means 'zero tolerance' [of corruption]," Du said.

The commission has sent inspection teams across the mainland to collect residents' complaints and to search for evidence to support their claims.

Local media have reported that the arrival of inspection teams made some local officials so nervous that they sent authorities to guard the inspectors' office and keep petitioners away.

But the article said only corrupt officials would have reason to feel nervous.

Du praised the agency's swift action in nabbing corrupt officials, pointing to the case of Yao Mugen, the former deputy governor of Jiangxi.

"On the second day of Yao's detention, the provincial party newspaper Jiangxi Daily still published an article by Yao, reflecting the swift operation and independence [of the agency]," Du said.

State media avoid publishing articles by disgraced officials.