Pub­li­ciz­ing of­fi­cials’ as­sets

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

THE PUB­LI­CA­TION OF THE PER­SONAL PROP­er­ties of 128 newly pro­moted of­fi­cials at the sec­tion head level in Ba­nan Dis­trict of South­west China’s Chongqing mu­nic­i­pal­ity re­cently can be con­sid­ered a trial bal­loon be­fore the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a na­tion­wide sys­tem in the near fu­ture.

With in­for­ma­tion such as their sav­ings, mo­tor ve­hi­cles, houses, stocks in the name of their fam­ily mem­bers, and mar­i­tal sta­tus pub­lished in the dis­trict gov­ern­ment bul­letin, th­ese of­fi­cials have been placed un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the pub­lic. Any tip- off about any of them con­ceal­ing per­sonal prop­er­ties will lead to their sus­pen­sion from work un­til an in­ves­ti­ga­tion determines whether the al­le­ga­tions are true or not.

This is a ray of hope that the cage for lock­ing power that Party Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Xi Jin­ping once re­ferred to is be­ing built, since a mech­a­nism for dis­clos­ing the per­sonal prop­er­ties of gov­ern­ment and Party of­fi­cials for pub­lic su­per­vi­sion was first men­tioned in 1988.

De­spite all the rhetoric from the lead­ers over the past more than 20 years about the im­por­tance of plac­ing power un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the pub­lic, and the pub­lic dis­course about the ne­ces­sity for the pub­li­ca­tion of the per­sonal prop­er­ties of of­fi­cials, progress has been slow due to re­sis­tance from those in power.

“To im­ple­ment the sys­tem of pub­lish­ing per­sonal prop­er­ties of newly pro­moted of­fi­cials on a trial ba­sis” has been writ­ten into the Party’s de­ci­sions on deep­en­ing re­forms adopted at the Third Plenum of the 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China in Novem­ber.

Why does the sys­tem only ap­ply to newly ap­pointed of­fi­cials? Many ar­gue that it is un­fair for only those at the bot­tom to have their per­sonal as­sets pub­lished.

Since re­sis­tance from the en­tire body of of­fi­cial­dom is too strong for the sys­tem to be fully im­ple­mented in the fore­see­able fu­ture, it is nat­u­ral for the soft belly of the of­fi­cial­dom to be se­lected as the point where a break­through can be made.

Far away as the ex­per­i­ment is from the goal of lock­ing all power in the cage of su­per­vi­sion, the move re­veals the stead­fast re­solve of the top au­thor­i­ties to root out cor­rup­tion.

Yet it will un­doubt­edly be an up­hill bat­tle to push the sys­tem for­ward against the re­sis­tance from of­fi­cial­dom.

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