The National Audit Office recently issued drafts that allow auditing officials to probe into possible illegal activities on the basis of public complaints. As public finance watchdogs, audit offices at all levels must attach great importance to the voices of the public and the media, says an article in China Youth Daily. Excerpt:
The main supervisory functions of the media are providing information to the public and unearthing dirty deals in society. By shedding light on scandals one after another in the past few years, the press became a thorn in some questionable officials' side.
But things are different now. Some corrupt officials become so shameless that exposure of their misdeeds and subsequent public criticisms no longer are sources of shame or embarrassment for them. Their shameless reaction to exposures is because public supervision does not necessarily mean punishment.
On the other hand, people seem satisfied by just criticizing a scandal and soon shift their attention to the next high-profile case. Consequently, the guilty no longer are bothered whether their evil acts become public.
As a matter of fact, corrupt officials are afraid neither of media criticism nor public condemnation. Given that they have very little political power and resources, the media can only trace the scent of a scandal or find the tip of a corruption iceberg. Without further probing by the authorities, the exposure of illegal acts will end in nothing.
That's why the National Audit Office's new standards are a big step forward and highlight democratic supervision. We hope auditors will put public denunciations, rather than multiple choices, on their "must-do list".
(China Daily September 15, 2009)