Ex-officials are shown confessing on Internet

Updated: 2015-02-27 07:33

By Sun Xiaochen(China Daily)

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First-person examples have become a new tool for anti-graft education, as China's top disciplinary watchdog has begun publishing disgraced officials' confessions.

Once confidential and used for internal review only, details about the officials and their confessions during investigations are now being made public by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's top anti-graft agency, both as a warning and an educational tool to deter others.

The case of Zhang Yin, former chairman of the Xuzhou municipal people's political consultative conference in Jiangsu province, was highlighted on the agency's website on Wednesday as the first example of what is expected to be published regularly.

"Deep regret and self-accusation is reflected in every confession letter. All public servants and officials should be warned and educated through these materials," a statement released by the agency said.

Video clips showing Zhang confessing to misdeeds were published, along with a sorrowful letter written by the 56-year-old, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for accepting bribes of more than 1.9 million yuan ($303,620) by Wuxi Intermediate People's Court in Jiangsu in May.

"I feel deeply guilty to my family, the Party and society. If I could start over, I wouldn't breach any disciplines, even at expense of my life. I hope others will learn lessons from my case and stop committing crimes," Zhang, wearing a blue prison uniform, said to the camera in one of the confession videos posted online.

It was the first time the country's disciplinary watchdog published such internal materials, earning plaudits from anti-graft experts.

Ex-officials are shown confessing on Internet

"Making the files public while letting corrupt officials speak their mind can educate officials and deter potential violations," Yan Jirong, a professor of political science at Peking University's School of Government, said on Thursday.

Still, Yan said, making such information public should strictly follow judicial procedures, and the publication of material should be objective and avoid sensationalism.

Wu Hui, a Party discipline researcher at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said, "Corruption starts with the decaying of the consciousness of discipline. Showing these violators' self-examination and first-person confessions will help exhort others."

However, as the central government vows to eradicate corruption nationwide, education should be combined with tougher punishment and more transparent supervision, Wu said.

Wang Xiaodong contributed to this story.


(China Daily 02/27/2015 page3)