CCDI con­tin­ues cor­rup­tion clam­p­down The na­tion’s top anti-graft watch­dog is de­ter­mined to stamp out il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties among of­fi­cials, as Zhang Yan re­ports.

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

For the past five years, the bat­tle against cor­rup­tion has been a top pri­or­ity, with dis­ci­plinary watch­dogs at all lev­els in­ves­ti­gat­ing and ap­pre­hend­ing rogue Party of­fi­cials.

Since the cam­paign was launched by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping in 2012, more than 280 of­fi­cials at the min­is­te­rial and pro­vin­cial lev­els, or higher, have been in­ves­ti­gated over al­le­ga­tions of “se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tions of Party dis­ci­pline”, a com­mon eu­phemism for cor­rup­tion.

They in­clude sev­eral pow­er­ful “tigers”, such as for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity chief Zhou Yongkang and Su Rong, for­mer vice-chair­man of the Na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence.

“No mat­ter what their lev­els, of­fi­cials in­volved in cor­rup­tion will stand trial and re­ceive judg­ment ac­cord­ing to the law,” said Yang Xiaodu, min­is­ter of su­per­vi­sion and deputy di­rec­tor of the Com­mu­nist Party of China’s Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, the top anti-graft watch­dog.

The CCDI said it has de­vel­oped ef­fec­tive pro­ce­dures to tighten su­per­vi­sion within the CPC to en­sure that mem­bers fol­low the rules, elim­i­nate graft “at the roots” and tackle an is­sue that has a bear­ing on the fu­ture of both the Party and the na­tion.

Dur­ing Xi’s first term in of­fice, the com­mis­sion car­ried out 12 rounds of in­spec­tion into 277 Party or­ga­ni­za­tions and bod­ies, achiev­ing a full in­spec­tion of all Party or­gans.

“The in­spec­tions acted as a sharp sword for su­per­vi­sion within the Party, lead­ing to more than 60 per­cent of the valu­able clues we re­ceived about po­ten­tial cor­rup­tion,” said Li Wan­jun, a bureau–level in­spec­tor with the CCDI’s cen­tral in­spec­tion team.

Of­fi­cial data shows that from late 2012 to the end of Au­gust more than 240,000 of­fi­cials na­tion­wide were ac­cused of breach­ing the Party’s fru­gal­ity code. The com­mis­sion has re­leased a list of 167 typ­i­cal of­fenses on its web­site.

One ex­am­ple oc­curred be­tween 2014 and 2016, when Kong Ling­bin, deputy di­rec­tor of the en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion bureau of the Ningxia Hui au­ton­o­mous re­gion, vi­o­lated Party rules and ac­cepted gifts and cash from sub­or­di­nates val­ued at 50,000 yuan, ($7,630) as well as a re­fu­el­ing card for his car worth 5,000 yuan.

Kong was given a se­ri­ous warn­ing by the CPC and his il­licit gains were con­fis­cated.

Mean­while, in Fe­bru­ary last year, Ai Ge­qing, a se­nior of­fi­cial at the pub­lic se­cu­rity bureau in Baoshan, Yun­nan prov­ince, broke Party rules by ac­cept­ing gifts and cash worth 29,530 yuan from 56 peo­ple. She re­ceived the same pun­ish­ment as Kong.

“Our clam­p­down has gained crush­ing mo­men­tum and halted the spread of cor­rup­tion,” Yang said, adding that the task of su­per­vis­ing Party mem­bers and build­ing a loyal, clean and re­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ment will be ar­du­ous.

“We will never let up against graft, and we must es­pe­cially stay alert to any elec­tion fraud dur­ing the Party’s key meet­ing,” he said, re­fer­ring to the 19th Na­tional Congress of the CPC.

When he ad­dressed a CCDI meet­ing ear­lier this year, Pres­i­dent Xi said Party or­ga­ni­za­tions at all lev­els must strengthen their man­age­ment and strictly ad­here to the rules to en­sure healthy elec­tions.

“Mem­bers who show ex­cel­lent moral­ity and abil­ity should be cho­sen and pro­moted,” he said.

The congress will see the elec­tion of the new lead­er­ship group and her­ald a ma­jor reshuf­fle at var­i­ous lev­els of the CPC and gov­ern­ment.

In a re­cent ed­i­to­rial, Peo­ple’s Daily, the Party’s of­fi­cial news­pa­per, called for zero tol­er­ance to­ward cor­rup­tion dur­ing the elec­tions. “Any mal­prac­tice, such as bribery and so­lic­it­ing or buy­ing votes, should be in­ves­ti­gated and, if proved, se­verely punished,” it said, adding that CPC mem­bers should draw lessons from re­cent po­lit­i­cal scan­dals that harmed the pub­lic in­ter­est and posed se­ri­ous threats to so­cial sta­bil­ity.

One ex­am­ple oc­curred in Liaon­ing prov­ince in 2013, when 523 of the 616 deputies who took part in elec­tions for the pro­vin­cial peo­ple’s congress were sus­pected of of­fer­ing bribes. They all re­signed or were dis­qual­i­fied from tak­ing their seats.

Over­all, more than 950 of­fi­cials were punished for be­ing in­volved, ac­cord­ing to a CCDI state­ment. Most re­ceived IN­VES­TI­GA­TIONS ad­min­is­tra­tive pun­ish­ments, while a num­ber of se­nior pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials were charged with de­stroy­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of the elec­tion, abuse of power and bribery. They are await­ing sen­tenc­ing.

Song Da­jun, deputy chief of the Party work style su­per­vi­sion of­fice of the CCDI, said the au­thor­i­ties will con­tinue to turn up the heat on cor­rupt of­fi­cials through tight su­per­vi­sion and tough penal­ties. Vi­o­la­tors face ad­min­is­tra­tive pun­ish­ments rang­ing from warn­ings or de­mo­tion to ex­pul­sion from the CPC, he said, while those who com­mit crim­i­nal of­fenses will be handed over to pros­e­cu­tors.

Anti-graft en­forcers at the lo­cal and na­tional lev­els will be punished if they con­ceal, or fail to dis­close in good time, in­for­ma­tion that im­pli­cates Party of­fi­cials, he added.

Ob­servers such as Jiang Laiy­ong, an anti-graft ex­pert at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, have praised the CCDI’s ef­forts to tar­get elec­tion fraud ahead of the congress.

“The Party must ur­gently up­date its rules to meet the real chal­lenges, as well as fur­ther im­prove the su­per­vi­sion sys­tem and stan­dard­ize nom­i­na­tion pro­ce­dures to pre­vent graft dur­ing elec­tions,” said Jiang, who is also a se­nior re­searcher at Ts­inghua Univer­sity’s China Anti-Cor­rup­tion Re­search Cen­ter.

He said man­agers who fail to mon­i­tor their sub­or­di­nates’ be­hav­ior should also face more-se­vere penal­ties.

In ad­di­tion to guard­ing against elec­tion fraud, CCDI in­spec­tors will pay close at­ten­tion to pre­vent­ing cor­rup­tion at key times of the year, such as Spring Fes­ti­val and the Na­tional Day hol­i­day, as well as crack­ing down on of­fi­cials who spend pub­lic funds on ban­quets, gifts, trips, en­ter­tain­ment or pri­vate clubs.

Af­ter tack­ling a num­ber of high-rank­ing tar­gets, the agency also plans to fo­cus on fight­ing graft at the grass­roots to gain greater pub­lic sup­port.

“Apart from fight­ing high– rank­ing tigers, dis­ci­plinary of­fi­cers should pay more at­ten­tion to com­bat­ing cor­rupt grass­roots of­fi­cials, so more peo­ple will ex­pe­ri­ence and share the fruits of the anti-graft cam­paign,” said Gao Bo, a po­lit­i­cal re­searcher at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences. “I’m con­fi­dent about the suc­cess of the anti-graft cam­paign and its ben­e­fits for all cit­i­zens.”

The CCDI is also con­tin­u­ing to hunt cor­rupt of­fi­cials who have fled over­seas to es­cape pun­ish­ment.

The com­mis­sion is lead­ing the Cen­tral Anti-Cor­rup­tion Co­or­di­na­tion Group, which in 2014 launched Sky Net, a far­reach­ing op­er­a­tion to snare eco­nomic fugi­tives abroad and con­fis­cate ill-got­ten gains.

By the end of Au­gust, of­fi­cials sus­pected of eco­nomic crimes had re­turned to China from more than 90 coun­tries and re­gions, in­clud­ing the United States, Canada and New Zealand, and il­licit as­sets worth 9.36 bil­lion yuan had been re­cov­ered, the com­mis­sion said.

In April 2015, In­ter­pol is­sued red no­tices — in­ter­na­tional ar­rest war­rants — for the 100 most-wanted Chi­nese fugi­tives. So far, 43 have re­turned from more than 16 coun­tries and re­gions, in­clud­ing No 1 tar­get Yang Xi­uzhu, for­mer deputy di­rec­tor of con­struc­tion in Zhe­jiang prov­ince, who re­turned in Novem­ber af­ter spend­ing 13 years in the US.

In July, Yang, 70, pleaded guilty to em­bez­zling more than 19 mil­lion yuan of pub­lic funds and re­ceiv­ing bribes worth 7.35 mil­lion yuan. She is await­ing sen­tenc­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the CCDI, most of the 57 most-wanted fugi­tives are still at large in the US, Canada and New Zealand.

“These coun­tries are our pri­or­ity, so we must strengthen law-en­force­ment co­op­er­a­tion, such as in­tel­li­gence shar­ing and case in­ves­ti­ga­tion, with our coun­ter­parts over­seas,” Cai Wei, deputy di­rec­tor of the com­mis­sion’s in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion depart­ment, said.

“There is no safe haven. No mat­ter where a sus­pect runs to, we will make ev­ery ef­fort to ar­rest them and bring them to jus­tice.”

Con­tact the writer at zhangyan1@ chi­

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