Action against graft
Updated: 2013-03-22 07:05
On Tuesday, the Party's anti-graft body meted out disciplinary punishments to officials who, in six separate cases, had violated the Party's new rules on work style. This highlights the Party leadership's resolve to improve efficiency and put an end to the wasting of public money and other irregularities.
The Party's core leadership adopted eight rules in December, strictly forbidding government and Party officials from squandering money on banquets, unnecessary meetings and visits both at home and abroad, and unnecessary welcoming and sending off ceremonies for the visits that officials do make.
The rules even specify that members of the core leadership are not allowed to attend ribbon-cutting ceremonies without the approval of the top decision-making body. The top leaders have been setting an example for their local counterparts by embracing the down-to-earth working style the rules seek to encourage.
It goes without saying that the establishment of mechanisms that can place power into a cage is what most people are hoping for. But it will take time to make such a cage. So in the meantime as many corrupt elements as possible need to be caught and punished.
Wang Qishan, chief of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, has said that the fight against corruption has to deal with the symptoms first in order to buy time to devise a long-term, systematic approach to get to the root of the problem.
Obviously, the disciplinary penalties inflicted on the local officials are a way of dealing with the symptoms.
None of the officials punished on Tuesday was involved in a big case: A local financial bureau head in Hainan province entertained his friends at a banquet with public money, the head of an investment company in Guangdong province squandered public money on a banquet in the name of convening a forum and a county Party secretary borrowed a sports utility vehicle for his own use. Yet all of them have either been dismissed from their positions or given warnings.
Clearly the disciplinary watchdog is sending the message that it will not tolerate even minor offenses. This is because the actions to operate on the symptoms of corruption must cut deep into officialdom if they are to act as a deterrent.
(China Daily 03/22/2013 page8)