Stern eye cast on low-level corruption

Updated: 2015-11-06 07:51

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai(China Daily)

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Jail sentences were given to 197 officials at grassroots levels who were involved in 175 corruption cases over the past five years, prosecutors in Shanghai said on Thursday.

Those convicted were civil servants in various departments and towns, along with some heads of State-owned enterprises and public institutions.

Many of the corruption cases involved tax-related issues, such as verifications of tax amounts, management of invoices, tax collection in housing and estate transactions. They also involved land requisitions, displacement and resettlement and attracting investment to rural areas, according to prosecutors.

"A little leak will sink a great ship," said Gu Xiaojun, deputy director of the community prosecution division of the Shanghai People's Procuratorate.

"Corruption by junior officials must be prevented, as they interact with people every single day and their behavior is closely related to people's interests," Gu said.

For example, a deputy director of a community health service center was prosecuted earlier this year for accepting bribes, Gu said. The agency did not release the person's name.

"He was performing at a high level in the medical profession and was committed to charity and social work. Now that he is in a detention house, he must be regretting his corrupt behavior," Gu said.

The prosecuting agency interviewed 440 doctors at community health service centers and found more than 90 percent of them did not know they can face criminal prosecution as State workers if they take advantage of their positions for personal gain.

To better warn grassroots officials to stay away from corruption, prosecutors gathered more than 12,300 workers in various sectors, including village committees, community hospitals, market watchdogs and land administrations, for a special training course this year.

"In the course, we learned about individual cases of officials whose positions didn't seem prominent but who were involved in corruption, which let us better know the risks of corruption in our daily work and alert us to use power properly," said a woman, surnamed Zhu, from Xuhui district industrial and commercial administration.

Stern eye cast on low-level corruption