Abuse of power on the increase

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Chinese prosecutors handled 6,375 cases involving malpractice and the abuse of power by civil servants between November 2009 and August 2010, a 6 percent increase on the corresponding period the previous year, the country's top procuratorate said on Wednesday.

Concurrently, prosecutors across the nation handled 3,019 cases of job-related crimes with severe consequences, a 9 percent increase over the same previous year's period, Cao Jianming, prosecutor-general of China's Supreme People's Procuratorate, said in a report to the country's top legislature.

A total of 298 officials at and above the county level were investigated, an 8 percent rise from the previous year, Cao said.

The dereliction of duty most frequently occurred in places where power was abused and state assets were squandered in project planning, public bidding and quality supervision. A total of 997 major cases of this type involving 1,262 people were dealt with during the period, according to the report.

Another sector in which the dereliction of duty frequently occurs is land resources. A total of 590 such cases involving 781 people were handled during the same period, the report said.

"Authorities in charge of construction projects and land resources are at high risk because local officials rely on such projects to achieve economic growth, which plays a significant role in their careers," Cong Bin, a National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee member, told China Daily.

"There is a need for a comprehensive evaluation system for local officials, which places emphasis on economic growth, governmental integrity, environmental protection and so on," he said.

Cao also said in the report that prosecutors paid particular attention to cases involving dereliction of duty that led to incidents in which the interests of the people were endangered, such as home demolitions, the restructuring of enterprises and school enrollments.

The central government said in January that an anti-corruption law was "necessary", though it has yet to be introduced.

Lin Zhe, a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said in an earlier interview that the legislation "faces great difficulties", including the need to establish a system for the declaration of income and prohibiting moonlighting among civil servants.

Earlier this month, the Supreme People's Procuratorate issued a document urging prosecuting bodies nationally to intensify the efforts to crack down on crimes involving the dereliction of duty.

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