Time to tar­get grass­roots cor­rup­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

No one is im­mune to dis­ci­plinary in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and that in­cludes the deputies of the peo­ple’s con­gresses at all lev­els, said Fu Ying, spokes­woman for the fourth ses­sion of the 12th Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, China’s top leg­is­la­ture, at a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day.

Just an hour be­fore the briefing, the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, the coun­try’s top anti-graft watch­dog, an­nounced the in­ves­ti­ga­tion ofWangMin, for­mer Party chief ofNorth­east China’s Liaon­ing prov­ince, for sus­pected se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tions of Party dis­ci­pline.

Cor­rup­tion in lo­cal gov­ern­ments has dealt a heavy blow to the im­age of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, and also harmed peo­ple’s le­git­i­mate in­ter­ests. It thus calls for more con­certed ef­forts to pre­vent abuse of power at all lev­els.

If they are proved to be cor­rupt, both se­nior of­fi­cials, the so-called “tigers”, and lower-level pub­lic ser­vants, known as “flies”, should be pun­ished ac­cord­ing to their mis­deeds. While the for­mer are of­ten far re­moved from the daily lives of most peo­ple, lower-level of­fi­cials can give peo­ple a hard time, not only mak­ing life mis­er­able but also pos­ing a threat to peo­ple’s le­gal in­ter­ests.

The on­go­ing na­tion­wide anti-graft cam­paign is key to en­sur­ing that peo­ple from all walks of life are granted ac­cess to the div­i­dends of the coun­try’s growth, es­pe­cially when it comes to med­i­cal ser­vices, education, em­ploy­ment, and food and drug safety.

It is worth not­ing that there are also loop­holes that breed cor­rup­tion when lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have the big­gest say in man­ag­ing col­lec­tive funds, as­sets, and re­sources even in re­mote vil­lages.

Some have lit­tle re­spect for the rule of lawand in­dulge in a va­ri­ety of power abuses, such as sell­ing re­served land to prop­erty de­vel­op­ers and tak­ing bribes from the de­vel­op­ers to val­i­date their il­le­gal oc­cu­pa­tion and con­struc­tion. Such mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of pub­lic re­sources not only in­fringes on lo­cal res­i­dents’ le­git­i­mate in­ter­ests but also tar­nishes the rul­ing Party’s political im­age.

It is high time that the “flies” were erad­i­cated for good. Lo­cal dis­ci­pline in­spec­tion au­thor­i­ties should im­pose stricter su­per­vi­sion on all pub­lic ser­vants and hold ac­count­able those who vi­o­late reg­u­la­tions to keep them clean.

More specif­i­cally, they need to keep a close eye on the man­age­ment of nat­u­ral re­sources by curb­ing il­le­gal ex­ploita­tion and be­hind-the-scenes col­lu­sion be­tween govern­ment and busi­ness­men. Be­sides, mea­sures should also be taken to make sure that the ex­clu­sive sub­si­dies for ru­ral res­i­dents are given to those in need and fa­vor­able med­i­cal and in­sur­ance poli­cies are fully im­ple­mented.

Procu­ra­to­rial de­part­ments at all lev­els need to ful­fill their obli­ga­tions as well, and they should su­per­vise civil, crim­i­nal and ad­min­is­tra­tive lit­i­ga­tion, while deal­ing with cor­rupt of­fi­cials sus­pected of mis­us­ing pub­lic funds, as well as ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties that take bribes to help cor­rupt of­fi­cials walk away with im­punity.

Of course, more in­sti­tu­tional ef­forts are re­quired to build a fire­wall to pre­vent power-for-money ex­changes, and en­sure lo­cal au­thor­i­ties dis­close affairs within the Party and the govern­ment, and im­prove their fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.

To pre­vent pub­lic as­sets from be­ing em­bez­zled, rep­re­sen­ta­tives, es­pe­cially those from less de­vel­oped re­gions, should be granted a say in ma­jor gov­ern­men­tal de­ci­sions, un­der the su­per­vi­sion and guid­ance of lo­cal vil­lage or town coun­cils. Lo­cal of­fi­cials are sup­posed to face rou­tine au­dits of lo­cal fi­nan­cial affairs and make pub­lic the re­sults in a timely man­ner.

The au­thor is di­rec­tor of the China Anti-Cor­rup­tion Ju­di­cial Re­search Cen­ter in Bei­jing.

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