Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign

‘Naked’ party officials whose families live abroad demoted under anti-graft campaign

Move follows an order from Beijing in January that officials whose families have emigrated should not be promoted

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 May, 2014, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 September, 2014, 10:19pm

Guangdong has transferred Communist Party officials whose families live abroad to less sensitive posts as part of the anti-corruption campaign, party mouthpiece the People’s Daily reported.

The move followed an order from Beijing in January that officials whose families have emigrated should not be promoted.

Such officials are usually dubbed “naked” officials by mainland media. The term refers to a new class of cadre which has emerged on the mainland over the past decade who send their wives or children to live comfortably in foreign countries while quietly laying the ground for their own eventual departure.

There are no national statistics on such cadres across the country, although some analysts have put the figure at more than one million.

The Guangdong Communist Party Organisation Department has ordered its branches across the province to investigate how many officials’ immediate families have emigrated. All “naked” officials - including department heads - should either ask their families to return to the country or be moved to less sensitive positions.

Before transferring these officials to other posts, the organisation department tries to persuade them to have their wives or children return from overseas.

However, some “naked” officials did not understand the thinking behind the campaign or their families did not agree to return, said Si Qi, vice director of Dongguan organisation department.

“If those ‘naked’ official didn’t want to have their families return back or didn’t accept our arrangement after one talk, we would talk with them twice, three times or even five or six times,” said the official.

The number of such officials Guangdong found during this campaign has not been revealed, but there is a far higher proportion of “naked” officials in the Pearl River Delta than other Guangdong regions, according to the People’s Daily.

For instance, in Dongguan, 127 “naked” officials have been moved posts while in Jiangmen 128 “naked” officials were removed from their position. Last week Fang Xuan, deputy chief of the Guangzhou Party Committee, applied to retire five months earlier than the scheduled age, for allegedly being a “naked” official.

Yang Jianwei, vice director of the Guangdong Communist Party School, said “naked” officials are not necessarily corrupt, but said the public have greater suspicion of such public servants.

“You have moved your families abroad, how could we not think that although you are living in China you are planning to escape?” Yang said. “Being an official means that you should be devoted to the country.”

An internet user at sohu.com said the anti-graft campaign should not only force “naked” officials to leave lucrative positions, but should also probe how they accumulated their assets because “without much money, it’s impossible for them to send their wives or children abroad.”