Corruption must make way for talent, says discipline chief
The Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog yesterday announced the punishment of eight local officials who had taken or offered bribes in exchange for promotion, in a move seen as part of Beijing's efforts to crack down on corruption amid a comprehensive leadership reshuffle of local authorities.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) named the eight cadres, from seven provinces, at a news conference.
The eight are middle-ranking officials at the county and township levels. They were found to have taken bribes from subordinates in exchange for promotion, or offered money to other party representatives to help them win internal party elections. Some of them also abused their power to elevate relatives or friends to key government positions.
Their punishment ranged from sacking to expulsion from the Communist Party and demotion in line with their respective offences, Xinhua reported.
The most senior of the eight was Zhang Gaiping , the party chief of a poor district in Shangluo , Shaanxi . She accepted more than 1 million yuan in bribes from 28 officials who sought promotion from 2000 to last year.
According to previous state media reports, a few officials took out bank loans to pay the bribes. Zhang has been expelled from the party and turned over to criminal prosecution.
Liu Xirong , a deputy chief of the discipline committee, warned local watchdogs to step up anti-graft efforts because the authorities had begun a drive to reshuffle the local leadership with an injection of new blood that would involve hundreds of thousands of officials.
'We must strictly follow the party guideline when promoting cadres. We must be fair and show no favouritism so that only truly capable cadres are promoted,' Mr Liu said.
The CCDI has issued a notice to local governments asking them to exercise self-discipline and educate grass-roots party members. It said local governments should become more transparent when selecting new leaders.
Mainland academics said bribery in exchange for promotion had become prevalent at all government and party levels nationwide because of the opaque selection process. They urged the party to establish a more balanced and democratic internal system when promoting cadres.
'We must ensure the decision [to promote a cadre] should not be made by only one or two top leaders. It must be an open and democratic process. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to ensure it is fair and just,' said Ren Jianming , a professor from Tsinghua University.
Last year, more than 300 officials were reprimanded for taking or offering bribes in exchange for promotion. Ninty-seven of them were disciplined. Wu Guanzheng , the head of the CCDI, earlier warned that officials caught indulging in such bribery would be blacklisted for future promotion.