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Weibo: An eye on corruption

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, March 11, 2013
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China's growing number of micro-bloggers are becoming a force to be reckoned with, in exposing abuses of power. Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, is their weapon of choice. Despite the many merits of micro-blogging, experts and CPPCC members are calling for stronger anti-corruption legislation to fight graft in the long term.

Public voices are getting louder in supervising power, in the age of the micro-blog. A string of officials have been brought down by Weibo.

Independent journalist Ji Xuguang is credited with bringing down former Chongqing party chief Lei Zhengfu in a high-profile scandal last year.

Ji Xuguang said, "Instead of petitioning the disciplinary authorities, or writing a report for the Southern Metropolis Daily where I worked, I chose Weibo, for its transparency and speed. "

Corrupt officials never used to be challenged by grassroots netizens, but the development of the Internet and social networking is making the difference.

Gao Bo, deputy sec.-general of Anti-Corruption Research Center, CASS, said, "Working as an official is becoming tougher and tougher. The internet helps make ordinary people's voices heard in the anti-corruption campaign, and makes supervision easier and more cost-effective. "

Officials now face a greater level of scrutiny in the age of the micro-blog. This is an effective means to rein in the abuse of the power. But the country's lawmakers say it will eventually come down to a sound system to prevent and curb corruption in the long run.

Experts say the prominence of Weibo could also highlight inadequacies in anti-corruption mechanisms.

Ma Huaide, Vice President of China Univ. of Political Science & Law, said, "For example, there've been loopholes in enforcing the law, and lack of supervision over law-enforcement institutions. Meanwhile, even though we've set up a number of laws to ensure clean governance, the regulations are not complete."

CPPCC member Chen Jianguo says the country's anti-corruption law needs to be amended. He believes local anti-corruption officials often have independent investigative power, and are prone to interference. He also thinks the punishment rate is too low.

Chen Jianguo said, "I think we should extend the range of punishments, especially among government officials. Instead of giving warnings or using administrative regulation to curb their misdeeds, I suggest they be subject to the rule of law, even for minor offenses. "

Latest figures from the Supreme People's Court shows that more than 140,000 people have been punished for abuse of power over the past five years. The sheer number highlights the intensity of the campaign.

The country's now drawing up a five year anti-corruption plan, to stem corruption at source.


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