2,290 in China disciplined for excessive extravagance

CHINA - Government officials violated new Party guidelines against corruption

More than 2,000 Party and government officials have been punished as of late June for breaking new Party rules against extravagance and excess formality, an official from China's top anti-graft agency said on Monday.

A total of 2,290 officials violated the guidelines, said Xu Chuanzhi, head of the department responsible for the supervision of Party officials' work habits under the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China.

The CPC Central Committee issued the guidelines in December to improve Party work habits.

The commission publicized eight typical cases, in which officials had misappropriated public funds for entertainment purposes or illegally accepted cash and gifts.

In one of the cases, an official from Qingshan district of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, received a grave warning for taking 10 civil servants sightseeing to Hainan province at public expense.

Anti-corruption authorities ordered those officials to pay for their trips, the commission said.

In another case, Wang Qinsheng, deputy head of the Hunan provincial department of justice, received a warning for accepting money and gifts at his son's wedding in January, the commission said.

The official was exposed in an online post that accused him of taking bribes at the event. The post also pointed out that more than 20 police vehicles and 100 officials from judicial authorities attended the wedding.

The Hunan Party Commission for Discipline Inspection announced afterward that Wang received around 140,000 yuan (S$28,900) from 78 people at the wedding, and the official has turned over the money to the commission.

In the wake of that scandal, the Hunan Party Commission for Discipline Inspection released the draft of a new rule last week that bans officials from accepting bribes at birthday celebrations and their family members' weddings and funerals.

In response to some people's claims that accepting gifts and money at birthday celebrations and wedding ceremonies is a private issue and should not be banned, Hunan's anti-graft agency said on Monday that the officials can either accept the ban or resign.

The release of typical cases and the number of officials punished is a regular occurrence that aims to push forward the Party's campaign to improve work habits.

The guidelines include reducing traffic controls imposed for officials' convenience, banning red-carpet arrangements, and resisting extravagant and bureaucratic visits and meetings.

The CPC Central Committee also initiated the "mass line" campaign in mid-June. The campaign, which is scheduled to run a year, requires officials to give top priority to the interests of the people and maintain close ties with the public.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC asked officials and Party members to stick to the eight bureaucracy-busting guidelines, eliminate improper work habits and firmly carry forward the "mass line" campaign, the statement said.

It also urged disciplinary authorities at all levels to strengthen inspection and supervision and punish those violating the anti-bureaucracy rules.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Public complaints allowed

A new regulation in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, forbids government employees from preventing people from making complaints to city leaders, Chinanews.com reported on Monday.

The regulation rules that no complaints from people to city officials are to be prevented during fact-finding missions or inspections of grassroots units in Nanjing. There should be no time limit for meetings during inspections or symposiums, according to the regulation.

City leaders are required to schedule at least one day a season to receive visits from the public - or go to grassroots units - to hear their suggestions.

The regulation was drafted because of public complaints during the city's mass line campaign, which refers to the guideline to prioritize and protect the interests of the people.