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New Moves for Cleaner Gov't

An anti-corruption system that lays equal stress on punishment and prevention and takes account of the environment of a developing market economy is in the making.

The supervisory system must be strengthened to restrict officials' abuse of power while laws and regulations related to combating corruption are established, said Zhu Xudong, director of the Research Institute of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission of the Communist Party of China.

Zhu made the remarks at a conference entitled Strengthening the Punishment and Prevention Mechanism of Anti-Corruption organized by the Supreme People's Procuratorate in Beijing over the weekend.

There should be strict supervision of major government departments in order to prevent leading officials from misusing their power, said Zhu.

He pointed out that supervision must be intensified in the selection of officials, and the operation of financial capital and state-owned assets, adding that legal measures, auditing and supervision all have a role to play.

"A sound and effective anti-corruption system should involve a series of interrelated mechanisms of prevention, restraint, punishment and self-discipline," Zhu said.

Legislating against corruption should be one of the most important tasks for lawmakers in the period to come, he advised.

Highlighting the importance of the legal system in preventing and combating corruption, Professor Wang Mu from the China University of Political Science and Law said a seamless system must be established to supervise government officials, including senior officials.

Cheng Wenhao from the School of Public Management in Tsinghua University emphasized the role of education in preventing corruption, describing it as a long-term and strategic task.

Corruption has been on the rise since China launched its reform and opening drive in the late 1970s. From 1998 to 2003, 36 officials at provincial and ministerial level were involved in corruption cases. Six officials at provincial and ministerial level and 537 officials above county level were punished for corruption in 2003.

As China continues its rapid socio-economic transformation, transparent and efficient government becomes increasingly imperative to create an equal and fair society for all people, said an official from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

"We support China's efforts to develop a balanced and effective anti-corruption system and see the Supreme People's Procuratorate as having an important role to play in the new anti-corruption system," said Renaud Meyer, deputy resident representative of UNDP's China Office at the conference.

In 2002, UNDP launched a three-year legal system reform project to assist the nation's court, procuratorate and public security authorities to adopt and implement new rules and policies in deepening legal system reform.

Thanks to the project, working guidelines to prevent corruption have been formulated and key prosecutors from the anti-corruption procuratorate bureaus have been trained to enhance their legal skills and professionalism.

"Our programs support the government's efforts to strengthen transparency and accountability within the civil service and the judiciary through the development of specific anti-corruption legislation and codes of conduct and through independent mechanisms for oversight, monitoring and enforcement," Meyer said.

With the UNDP's support, China actively participated in the drafting of the UN Convention on Anti-Corruption and signed the convention in December last year.

(China Daily November 15, 2004)

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