Anti-graft ef­fort sat­is­fies 62 per­cent of pub­lic in 2016, na­tional poll says

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG YI zhang_yi@chi­

Six out of 10 peo­ple are sat­is­fied with China’s anti-graft ef­forts in 2016, ac­cord­ing to a poll by the top State-run think tank.

The ap­proval level among the pub­lic of 62 per­cent was higher for func­tionar­ies, at 95 per­cent, in the poll by the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

The poll, based on more than 5,000 valid ques­tion­naires, is part of the sixth an­nual re­port on the eval­u­a­tion of China’s anti-graft drive re­leased by the academy onWed­nes­day.

The past year’s crack­down ap­pears to be hav­ing the de­sired ef­fect, said Jiang Laiy­ong, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of gov­ern­ment in­tegrity re­search cen­ter at the academy.

“The num­ber of cor­rup­tion cases dis­cov­ered in 2016 was sig­nif­i­cantly lower than in ear­lier years. Most cor­rup­tion cases known to the pub­lic were in­ves­ti­gated in pre­vi­ous years and are be­ing pro­cessed by ju­di­ciary de­part­ments now,” Jiang said.

“Ac­cord­ing to pub­lic in­for­ma­tion, we can see that large bribes were taken mostly be­fore 2013. Now we barely see of­fi­cials who dare to take bribes or em­bez­zle pub­lic money in large amounts.”

There has also been a big drop in tipoffs and com­plaints from the pub­lic, another in­di­ca­tion that the cam­paign has been ef­fec­tive since it started in 2012, he added.

The re­port says the most no­table progress in 2016 was the cre­ation of an in­tegrity sys­tem for clean gov­ern­ment. It notes that in­tra-Party su­per­vi­sion or­di­nances and guid­ing prin­ci­ples on the po­lit­i­cal life of the Party were is­sued in ad­di­tion to ac­count­abil­ity reg­u­la­tions on the work of gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

Ju­di­cial en­ti­ties, such as the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court and the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate also is­sued spe­cific by­laws for deal­ing with cor­rup­tion cases. Such prac­ti­cal mea­sures sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved gov­er­nance in 2016, the re­port stated.

In He­bei prov­ince, dis­ci­plinary in­spec­tion pro­ce­dures were greatly im­proved, and 220 top cadres were picked for the in­spec­tion team tal­ent pool, ac­cord­ing to Zhang Guolan of the prov­ince’s dis­ci­plinary de­part­ment.

Ar­eas they will be look­ing into in­clude the land and re­sources and the hous­ing and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment de­part­ments, she said.

While ev­i­dence of ma­jor cor­rup­tion de­creased in 2016, cases of mi­nor vi­o­la­tions of Party dis­ci­pline rose.

A to­tal of 40,827 cases were in­ves­ti­gated in 2016 in­volv­ing vi­o­la­tions of the eight-point aus­ter­ity rules em­pha­sized by the Party over the past four years. That rep­re­sents an an­nual in­crease of nearly 11 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the anti­graft watch­dog, the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion.

In those cases, 42,466 peo­ple were dis­ci­plined, 25 per­cent more than in the pre­vi­ous year.

“New prob­lems emerged fol­low­ing the sig­nif­i­cant progress made in anti-graft drive,” Jiang said.

Lo­cal of­fi­cials in some re­gions showed less ini­tia­tive at work to avoid mak­ing mis­takes, and in some cases, the pub­lic still had to of­fer “gift money”, or small bribes, to func­tionar­ies.

Jiang sug­gested steps to re­duce the in­come gap that leads some low-in­come func­tionar­ies into temp­ta­tion.

The mo­bile shop­ping ma­nia is set to con­tinue for on­line and brick-and-mor­tar busi­nesses, fu­eled by ex­pan­sion over­seas by Ali­pay and archri­val WeChat Pay, which is run by in­ter­net gi­ant Ten­cent, Yan said.

The two, which Coun­ter­point said claimed over 80 per­cent of China’s mo­bile pay­ment ser­vice, have taken great leaps to broaden over­seas mo­bile pay­ment ser­vices.

With 450 mil­lion users, Ali­pay is ac­cepted by more than 80,000 mer­chants world­wide in 18 cur­ren­cies, in­clud­ing high-end de­part­ment stores such as Har­rods and Prin­temps, which are mec­cas for Chi­nese con­sumers.

It hopes to serve 2 bil­lion cus­tomers over the next decade around the world, with 60 per­cent of its trans­ac­tion vol­ume com­ing from out­side China.

Mean­while, Ten­cent is quickly grow­ing its mar­ket share to about 25 per­cent, as it an­chors on a surg­ing num­ber of Chi­nese tourists who are among the 762 mil­lion users of its pop­u­lar mo­bile ap­pWeChat, which en­ables cash­less pay­ments.

More than 10 coun­tries and re­gions now sup­port WeChat pay­ments, and the num­ber is ex­pected to ex­plode within a year or two, the com­pany said.

Xu Mingqi, a se­nior re­searcher at the Shang­hai Academy of So­cial Sciences, said younger con­sumers are big spenders over­seas.

“Be­ing mo­bile-crazy and open-minded, a lot of them en­joy a far higher stan­dard of liv­ing and are ex­posed to op­por­tu­ni­ties to study and travel abroad,” he said.

Asia-Pa­cific mar­kets stand to ben­e­fit the most, with the big­gest upticks in mo­bile spend­ing in South Korea, Thai­land, Hong Kong, Ja­pan and Aus­tralia, ac­cord­ing to Ali­pay.

Ali­pay claims around 65 per­cent of the coun­try’s 12 tril­lion yuan ($1.73 tril­lion) mo­bile pay­ment mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to Coun­ter­point. Over­seas trans­ac­tions now ac­count for less than 10 per­cent of all mo­bile-en­abled trans­ac­tions.

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