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'Guilty officials should be charged'

Updated: 2013-06-14 07:28
By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai ( China Daily)

Party disciplinary violations that amount to criminal abuses of power should be treated as criminal cases, experts said.

The comments come after nearly 2,300 officials have been punished since the nationwide clampdown on graft and wasteful spending began in December.

"Any behavior that violates the rules as a criminal abuse of power must be treated as a criminal case to deter others," said Yi Shenghua, a Beijing attorney from Yingke Law Firm with 10 years' experience in corruption cases.

China's new leadership introduced eight rules in December to improve Party officials' work habits and toughen rules covering dereliction of duty, corruption and extravagance.

Officials must reduce formalities in their domestic and overseas visits; support more important, relevant content in news reports; and abide by regulations about their work and life, including housing and vehicle use, the instructions said.

Since the clampdown on graft and wasteful spending began in December, 2,665 violations have been investigated and 2,290 officials have been penalized, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China said in March. The commission revealed six typical cases.

Disciplinary penalties work for young officeholders because the penalties affect their chances of getting promoted, but may not work for senior ones, according to experts.

"Some officials only have two or three years before retirement and want to take advantage of their position. They don't care about disciplinary penalties because that won't affect their benefits after retirement," Yi said.

Duan Peijun, a scholar of strategic studies at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said he knows of some violations that have not been addressed or punished in some places.

"We can see the decrease in the number of government receptions from the performance of some high-end hotels and restaurants. But some of the receptions have been resettled to clubhouses and rural family inns," said Duan, adding that he personally knows of several such cases.

The new rules are a good beginning, as authorities on primary levels have controlled their expenditures, but a standardized system should be set up to ensure the trend will continue, Duan said.

"The rules should elaborate on how they should be implemented and how violations should be overseen and dealt with," he said.

Some officials at grassroots levels said they feel the tightened budget on government receptions and administration.

"The frequency of official banquets fell largely in the past six months, and most of them changed from round-table dinners to simple buffets," said Zou Zheng, a media officer from the Huqiu district people's court in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

"In addition, the three internal monthly magazines of Suzhou Intermediate People's Court were combined into one," he said.

zhouwenting@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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