China says corruption ‘still very serious’ problem


BEIJING – China on Wednesday admitted its corruption problem was “still very serious” and pledged to work harder to crush widespread official graft and win the public’s confidence.
In a new govt report on the anti-corruption drive, the communist rulers in Beijing reiterated that the country’s “harmony and stability” depended on efforts to build a clean govt. It said the ruling party had shifted its efforts to stamp out graft in the past decade to focus on senior officials who collude with corrupt businessmen or shield underworld figures, as well as cases “that cause mass disturbances”.
“So far, China’s effort to combat corruption… has yielded notable results,” said the report issued by the State Council, or cabinet. But it warned that “corruption persists, with some cases even involving huge sums of money. The situation in combating corruption is still very serious, and the tasks are still abundant,” it said. The government and the Communist Party pledged to “resolutely punish and effectively prevent corruption with more resolutions and powerful measures, so as to win the people’s confidence with actual achievements”.
The report highlights new rules that went into effect earlier this year that require government officials to report their incomes, investments, personal assets and whereabouts of family members.
Corrupt officials in China have a long history of funnelling ill-gotten gains into the bank accounts of relatives or to family members overseas. Wu Yuliang, member of the Communist Party’s central disciplinary committee, told a press conference on the report that more curbs on “extravagant expenses” such as official travel, purchasing cars and banquets would be implemented.
Wu added that the focus of government and party anti-corruption efforts would be “institutional building”, meaning efforts to structure the political system in a way that prevented corruption.
“The cause of corruption is complicated,” Wu said. “Institutional building is a systematic process that will take time… (but) the party and government is fully capable of curbing corruption to the lowest level.” The government said China encouraged news media to “expose unhealthy tendencies” and “highly values the positive role played by the Internet” in bringing to light wrongdoing.
China’s media is tightly controlled but gradually becoming more aggressive in exposing corporate and official malfeasance. However, particularly bold reporters who offend powerful forces risk being muzzled or even jailed.