Low-level officials targeted in graft fight

Updated: 2015-07-22 07:54

By Zhang Yan(China Daily)

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Special actions launched by national prosecutors are focusing on those working in key sectors

National prosecuting departments will boost efforts to investigate corruption among low-level "flies" - officials at county level or below - in an attempt to strengthen the grassroots, a senior official with the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on Tuesday.

In recent years, the number of low-level officials investigated for corruption, especially those serving in county, township or village authorities, has risen sharply due to their weak legal awareness and loopholes in supervision, said Song Hansong, director under the procuratorate's Duty-related Crime Prevention Department.

"Their alleged graft has directly harmed the public interest and posed a serious threat to the grassroots' political power," Song said.

According to the procuratorate, from January 2013 to May this year, national prosecutors investigated 28,894 low-level officials on suspicion of corruption involving agriculture or poverty alleviation, accounting for 22 percent of the alleged graft cases.

Chen Zhengyun, an official at the procuratorate's Duty-related Crime Prevention Department, said the approval of projects, management of special funds and supplies, quality supervision and certification, and issuing subsidies have become the worst-hit areas for such crimes.

He said some government officers colluded with each other and abused power to embezzle special funds or subsidies involving agriculture or poverty alleviation.

In addition, more than half of low-level officials investigated were suspected of accepting bribes.

Song said that to tackle the issue, prosecuting departments launched a round of special actions on July 1 to crack down on corruption involving low-level officials, including those who work in key sectors such as rural development, subsidies, project approval, as well as issuing and managing special funds or supplies.

They will look into crimes involving huge amounts of money that cause great economic losses, those that seriously harm people's interests and may provoke mass incidents, and grassroots officials who abuse power, neglect their duties or are involved in misconduct.

"The priority is for the authorities to enhance supervision and step up preventive measures to curb such crimes at their root," said Li Lin, a member of the Beijing Lawyers Association.


Low-level officials targeted in graft fight