Minister: no statistics for 'naked officials'

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 9, 2012
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China's supervision minister told reporters yesterday that there are as yet no statistics yet for so-called "naked officials", or officials whose family members have all gone abroad.

Ma Wen, Minister of Supervision and Vice-Secretary of the Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Central Committee of the CPC, takes questions on March 7, 2012 during the on-going fifth Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC). []

In response to a question on the subject of officials sending their children abroad, Ma Wen, the Minister of Supervision and Vice-Secretary of the Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Central Committee of the CPC, said: "Personally, I think in the context of China’s opening-up, officials have the same privilege as citizens to send their children abroad."

The catchy phrase "naked official", which is translated from the Chinese term, refers to officials who have moved their spouses and children, as well as their assets, to foreign countries. Their spouses and children then reside in foreign countries and obtain foreign nationalities or permanent residence permits. It is believed that many such officials were involved in corruption.

Commenting on the officials, Ma said: "I'm afraid that we cannot give you the statistics, [but] your interest is reasonable."

Ma added that she had been continuously bringing up the issue of "naked officials" for three years. During last year’s Forth Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) held in Beijing, she told the media that China had, for the first time, begun to register and supervise "naked officials". She added that a system would also be introduced for officials to declare their personal assets, which could be publicly scrutinized.

At the opening of this year's National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) session, Ma stated that two significant reports had already been produced. For the first report, the Ministry of Supervision did a very important summary and evaluation about “important matters” relating to officials. However, Ma refused to give further details.

Ma also said that the personal assets declaration system for officials has only been tested in a few regions, including Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region's Altay City and Hunan Province's Liuyang City. "I cannot comment on which place performed best,” said Ma. “But I think we are still in the early stages of development. You can keep watching for results.”

Wen indicated they are chronicling reports of important matters relating to officials. "This is a gradual process," she said, adding that there is no official timetable. In 2009, Shenzhen city ordered that "naked officials" must not take leading posts in either the city's government or inside the city's branch of the Communist Party of China.

In 2010, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee issued a new regulation for "naked officials", which instructed them to disclose their rank and the whereabouts of any of their immediate family members who reside in foreign countries. The new regulation also stipulates the procedures "naked officials" must follow when applying for personal passports. They must also report any plans they have to travel to Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan before departing.

Major scandals have erupted in recent years involving corrupt officials and their family members who fled abroad with illegally obtained money in order to avoid prosecution under Chinese law. Many of these officials sent their spouses and children overseas before transferring their money out of China.

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