THE authorities have postponed a decision on punishment for the disgraced party chief of Beijing, Chen Xitong , until after the sixth plenum of the party Central Committee in September.
The failure of the administration of President Jiang Zemin to finish investigations into the allegedly corrupt practices of Chen, first arrested in April 1995, has cast doubt on the Communist Party's commitment to fight graft.
Sources in the capital said top leaders had earlier this year made private pledges to 'wrap up' the investigations into Chen, as well as Chen's accomplices, by April. The sources said the new line from the leadership was to 'maintain a facade of everything going back to normal'.
Beijing mayor Li Qiyan , who was earlier rumoured to be retiring soon, is leading a delegation of mayors and provincial governors to the United States.
'Jiang Zemin met intense opposition when he tried to slap a heavy sentence on Chen at the fifth plenum last September,' an informed source said. 'It is doubtful whether the Chen affair will even be taken up at the sixth plenum.' The source said, however, that to placate popular fury against corruption, the administration would pass new laws against graft.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Personnel issued regulations against nepotism in appointments.
Government officials must not help spouses, grandparents, parents, children or grandchildren.
The regulations also cover uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Relatives of a spouse with a direct bloodline to a third generation were also included on the list of family members who must not be given appointments, the edict said.
And family members were not allowed to hold posts in which more than one family member reported to the same superior, or jobs in which one was subordinate to another family member.
Since the Ministry of Finance set up its 'dial a cheat' hotline, 400 people had called to report corruption and 100 had written letters, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) said. The hotline was started on May 6 to encourage the public to report misuse of government funds.