Premier Zhu Rongji has urged the 'super inspectors' chosen to be his eyes and ears in state firms to be honest and help him make state sector reform a success. The inspectors form a key part of Mr Zhu's plan to turn the troubled state sector around in three years. Mr Zhu, who took over from Li Peng in March, has vowed to make the mainland's 500 large and medium state enterprises profitable. The firms account for more than half the assets in the state sector. Mr Zhu's comments, reported by Xinhua yesterday, came when he launched a training class for the first batch of super inspectors at Beijing's Qinghua University on April 28. 'The super inspectors are a crucial step in our separation of business from the administration,' said Mr Zhu. 'They carry special significance in our wholesale implementation of state-owned enterprise reform and government restructuring.' Mr Zhu told the inspectors they must not interfere with the enterprises' daily operations but their investigations would play a key role in evaluating managers' performances. The inspectors would report directly to central agencies, such as the State Economic and Trade Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Their training mainly covers finance, accounting and auditing. Many of the first batch of 21 inspectors were former ministers who lost their jobs in the current government cuts. Among them were Zhang Haoruo, formerly in charge of the State Commission for Restructuring the Economy, Zhou Daojiong, ex-boss of the national securities watchdog, and Liu Qi, a vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Each inspector will be responsible for auditing the accounts of five state firms and specific guidelines have been set to prevent them being corrupted by the companies to which they are assigned. Conditions included single three-year terms and direct co-ordination by the Ministry of Personnel. The ministry had received more than 500 applicants for the posts and had so far selected 42, Xinhua said.