Anti-graft drive an ongoing fight in China

Updated: 2015-10-10 19:55


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BEIJING - Despite the investigation and prosecution of hundreds of officials nationwide, China's commitment to purging corruption is showing no signs of letting up.

The country's anti-graft watchdog has ousted corrupt officials all the way from low-level "flies" to high-ranking "tigers" since the current leadership took office in late 2012 and declared a high-profile anti-graft crackdown.

Tang Dongning, former deputy head of the Science and Technology Daily, is the latest official netted by the campaign.

He was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and removed from his post on Friday for going AWOL abroad and obtaining permanent residency in the UK without approval from the authorities, according to a statement released by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

Tang's case was not the only one to be announced by the CCDI, which on Wednesday announced that Su Shulin, governor of east China's Fujian Province, was being investigated for suspected "serious disciplinary offenses."

Meanwhile, local anti-graft bodies continue to name corrupt officials. Nearly 200 low-level officials involved in 163 cases were punished last month for embezzlement of public funds, use of public funds for banquets, accepting bribes, and holding lavish banquets, among other violations.

It has been a routine practice to expose decadent Party members involved in cases related to bureaucracy, formalism, extravagance and other undesirable work and life styles on a monthly basis since April 2014.

The crackdown is a long-lasting fight. Although remarkable results have been achieved, the fight is far from over, with the anti-graft watchdog itself sullied by corruption within its ranks.

CCDI chief Wang Qishan said at a symposium on Sept. 23 that more than 3,400 discipline inspectors nationwide had been punished since late 2012, 14 of whom were from the CCDI. Instead of launching a sweeping campaign, the leadership is pushing a permanent mechanism to limit power and curb corruption.

The CPC has targeted its Party rules in an effort to institutionalize the corruption purge.

During an inspection trip to coastal Zhejiang Province in May, Wang Qishan pledged to enhance institutional innovation and revise Party regulations on penalties.

The revisions should separate Party rules from legal provisions and give more emphasis to political discipline and regulation, he said.

In China, Party discipline is stricter than the law and Party regulations on disciplinary penalties serve as a fundamental guide for the CPC to punish its members.

Moreover, future legislation is planned to support the campaign. Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, urged the introduction of anti-graft legislation while delivering a work report at the annual session of the top legislature in March.

In August, the top legislature amended the Criminal Law, tightening corruption sentencing. According to the amendment, people convicted of serious corruption who were handed death sentences suspended for two years will have those converted to life in prison after the two-year period.