Assets of Chinese officials disclosed in in anti-graft campaign

Assets of Chinese officials disclosed in in anti-graft campaign

CHINA - A district government in Chongqing municipality has disclosed information on the private assets of 128 newly promoted officials in a pilot project to promote clean governance.

The new county and section-level officials in Banan district revealed information about their private property, including cars, apartments, bank deposits and stock market gains.

Apart from personal assets, the newly promoted officials also disclosed information about their spouses' and children's jobs, incomes and overseas residences. The information was printed in papers and publicized in front of the officials' workplaces late last month.

The government will cancel an official's appointment if he is found to be lying in their declaration, according to current government regulations.

Yang Jian, an anti-graft official, told the 21st Century Business Herald that the pilot project aims to avoid promoting officials with a record of corruption.

The practice is in line with the decisions made during the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, he told the newspaper.

The session, held early last month, vowed to enhance innovative systems to identify corruption and to establish a scientific and effective mechanism of power restriction.

The city of Altay in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region carried out a similar pilot project in 2009, but the plan met resistance from government officials.

About 70 percent of local officials opposed the project, while only 10 percent were willing to publicize their families' assets, according to the Legal Daily.

The Altay government has already stopped the pilot project, China Youth Daily reported.

Under current regulations, officials are required to report their private asset information to supervisory authorities, but such information remains unavailable to the public.

Li Xueqin, head of the research division under the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said on Sunday that anti-graft authorities will speed up the verification of reported assets information by officials. The punishment will be enhanced for those who have lied in the declaration, Li added.

It's easier to persuade low-level, newly promoted officials to disclose their families' assets, said Li Yongzhong, an anti-graft expert with the China Discipline Inspection and Supervision Institute.

Publicizing government officials' assets could effectively boost transparency and avoid various "hidden rules", he added.

Jiang Ming'an, a law professor at Peking University, said that the anti-corruption authorities should promote the project with firm determination. "Repeated news reports about 'House Uncle' and 'House Sister' (officials owning a large number of houses) have triggered public anger many times and harmed the Party's image," he said.

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