BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government will build a system for combating corruption and penalize crooked officials without mercy in accordance with the law, a government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday.
Efforts have been strengthened to uphold integrity and fight corruption and a number of people violating the law or discipline had been brought to justice, Li said at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.
The government fully implemented the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct, carried out the campaign to heighten awareness of and implement the mass line, firmly opposed formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance, and strictly implemented the State Council's three-point decision on curbing government spending.
Spending by central government bodies on official overseas visits, official vehicles, and official hospitality was reduced by 35 percent, and spending by provincial-level governments on official hospitality decreased by 26 percent, the report said.
China has embarked on a frugality drive as part of a popular anti-corruption campaign which targeted both "tigers and flies", referring to high and low ranking corrupt officials.
"I think its vigor has certainly surprised everyone," Andrew Small, an expert on China issues from the Washington-based German Marshall Fund of the United States in an email interview.
"The challenge is to turn a campaign into something that is more systemic, ensuring that there are right checks and balances in place," Small said.
In his report, Li called on government at all levels to practice economy, eliminate waste, and tighten their belts in 2014.
Construction of new government buildings and renovation and expansion of existing government buildings are strictly prohibited, the total number of government employees should be reduced, and government spending on official overseas visits, official vehicles, and official hospitality is to be reduced, Li said, adding that reforms of the system for using official vehicles will also be launched.
The government will strengthen administrative oversight and correct improper conduct in trades, and intensify auditing and release more auditing results to the public, Li said.
In addition, revenue from the sale of land-use rights and its use as well as farmland protection will come under the scrutiny of auditors, he said.