Mon, 29 Dec 2003

Vigilance key to curbing corruption: Case of China

Hua Hua, China Daily, Asia News Network, Beijing

On Wednesday CCTV reported on officials at the provincial and ministerial level who have been sacked from posts and punished by law due to corruption. It turns out to be a surprisingly long list involving as many as 13.

It's the largest number of high-ranking officials to be dealt with in a single year.

Unlike previous approaches featuring high-pitch propaganda once a high-ranking official was caught, which was thought to display the government's determination in fighting corruption and serve as a warning to others, these cases were dealt with in a comparatively low profile.

But with such a list in hand, the seriousness of the situation facing the Communist Party of China and the government to eliminate the malicious tumor from their bodies is beyond any doubt.

While on one hand the list of 13 officials attests to the great achievement in anti-corruption work this year, on the other hand it points to the harsh reality that corruption is still rampant.

It is far from claiming a triumph, nor a time to celebrate, but a critical moment to map out steps next and carry on the anti-corruption crusade more forcefully.

A relaxed sense of self-discipline should be blamed for these officials?fallout, but deficiency in the system and relevant rules and regulations proves to be the weakest link in preventing officials from going wrong.

The country is still in the transition phase with a highly- efficient market economic system not yet established, so loopholes in rules and regulations leave much room for trading power for money.

The systemic deficiency in fields of State enterprise reform, financial work, project contracting and transfer of land use rights, for example, has nourished a large number of corruption cases.

The government is apparently in full awareness of this. While unrelentingly dealing with corrupt officials, greater efforts have been inserted into systemic improvement. New measures have continued to be introduced into the above-mentioned fields to plug loopholes.

Just days ago, a thorough check was conducted into the land transfer cases nationwide and those in violation of laws were exposed and punished.

System building is not an overnight job. Today corruption still ignites fierce public complaints and ruins the image of the Party and the government, but optimism should be retained since steps are being taken in the right direction.