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Guangzhou tests waters in officials' asset disclosure

English.news.cn   2013-01-22 12:58:58            

GUANGZHOU, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- A district in a south China mega-city will be among the first to pilot a scheme requiring officials to declare their assets and make them known to the public amid increasing public outcry against corruption.

The Nansha New District of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, will usher in a trial system of such nature after the Spring Festival, which falls on Feb. 10, to increase the transparency of the financial status of government officials, a discipline official said Monday.

"The fight against corruption remains a tough task for China, and the public has high expectations for the system," Mei Heqing, spokesman for the Guangzhou City Commission for Discipline Inspection, told a press conference held by the city's anti-corruption watchdog.

"However, we must fully consider the current status quo while pushing forward the reform and prevent social turbulence caused by conflicts of interest," Mei said.

He noted that not all civil servants are required to declare their assets, as the system is mainly designed for officials holding major posts.

Meanwhile, assets that must be declared include civil servants' real estate holdings, the employment status of the spouses, sons and daughters of civil servants, and civil servants' investments, Mei said.

"The asset declaration and disclosure system is crucial to the fight against corruption, but it can not eradicate all the problems regarding corruption," he said.

"We need to push forward this reform in an active, yet gradual and orderly, way," Mei said.

Similar pilot programs have already been put in place in parts of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Hunan Province.

The pilot scheme in Guangzhou has been launched amid a spate of corruption scandals that have led to the sacking of officials owning multiple properties well beyond their financial means.

Cai Bin, an urban management official in Guangdong, was dismissed from his post in October after online postings said he owned 22 houses.

Zhai Zhenfeng, a former housing administration official in central China's Henan Province, was detained earlier this month on corruption charges after a whistle-blower revealed that he owns 31 houses.

On a Monday session of the Guangzhou Municipal Political Consultative Conference, Fan Songqing, the political advising body's deputy secretary-general, said he wanted to be the first person to declare and make public his own properties.

Fan's remarks instantly put himself in the spotlight, as he was accused by other political advisors at the same session of "breaking the hidden rules of the political arena."

However, Fan gained wide support on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging service, although some users suspected he said it only for show.

"Only uncorrupted officials are willing to support the asset declaration and disclosure scheme," said a user with the screen name "Xiaotiege Online."

The officials' asset declaration and disclosure move is part of efforts made by the Chinese government in its anti-corruption drive.

During the CPC National Congress, the newly-elected CPC leadership vowed to combat corruption, warning that it could lead to "the collapse of the Party and the fall of the state."

During a CPC disciplinary watchdog meeting on Tuesday, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, reiterated the resolution to unswervingly fight against corruption.

"We must have the resolution to fight every corrupt phenomenon, punish every corrupt official and constantly eradicate the soil which breeds corruption, so as to earn people's trust with actual results," Xi told a plenary meeting of the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Editor: An
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