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Corrupt Officials Targeted by Probes
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Thousands of officials were charged for corruption offences across the country in 2005, it has been revealed recently.

Thirty-two senior officials in Guangdong alone were among those arrested.

And as part of ongoing efforts to crackdown on corruption, the procuratorate department in Beijing announced yesterday that it would set up a "blacklist database" of people who offer bribes.

It is not yet known if other areas will follow suit.

Among those charged in Guangdong recently was Feng Keye, former head of the Guangdong Economical and Technological Co-operation Office.

He faced a trial at Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court for accepting bribes worth HK$1.27 million (US$163,800) from two shareholders of a steel company in the city of Heyuan in South China's Guangdong Province between 1995 and 1997.

The provincial disciplinary department began investigating the case late in 2004 and transferred the case to the local procuratorate early in 2005.

He was one of 32 corrupt senior officials at the provincial department head level who were tracked down by the Guangdong Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China and the Guangdong Provincial Department of Supervision in 2005.

In addition, a total of 295 middle-ranking officials county-level or division directors of a provincial department were investigated and detained accordingly in 2005.

"Most of the corrupt officials seized in 2005 were accused of taking bribes, dereliction of duty or gambling," said Ren Jianhua, deputy secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Supervision Department.

Other senior officials who were accused of taking bribes in 2005 include Chen Zhongyuan, former secretary of Foshan's Nanhai District Party Committee; Guan Xuezhong, former director of the China State Shipbuilding Corp's Guangzhou Bureau; and Wang Chengli, general manager of Guangzhou Steel Group.

Ren said that senior officials accused of dereliction of duty in 2005 were primarily related to the coal mine flooding accident last August in Xingning, a sub-ordinate city of Meizhou in the northeast of the province.

One of them, Hu Jianchang, former deputy director of Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Work Safety, was accused of both dereliction of duty and taking bribes.

And Wu Huali, former head of the Huizhou Public Security Bureau, was among the officials accused of gambling overseas.

Deterrent effect

According to a bulletin recently released by the Guangdong Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China, the province investigated a total of 4,289 cases related to government officials' violations of laws or Party disciplines, 220 cases of which involved economic losses of more than 1 million yuan (US$125,000).

The efforts helped retrieve losses worth 1.27 billion yuan (US$160 million) for the State.

Ren Jiantao, a public administration professor with Guangzhou-based Zhongshan University, said that the province's anti-graft efforts would prove a deterrent to government officials while further building up the confidence of people to fight against corruption.

The "blacklist database" in Beijing also aims to highlight the people who offer bribes to officials.

"All the information of individuals or units that were sentenced by the court for bribing others will be put on the blacklist," said Mu Ping, chief procurator of the Beijing Municipal People's Procuratorate, during the city's annual people's congress meeting.

After its completion, the database will be open to relevant departments or units, said the official.

For example, the procuratorate in Shijingshan District has issued a blacklist of people, who have previously given bribes, to the disciplinary department of Shougang Steel, with the aim to prevent possible corruption or abuse of duty during the company's relocation process.

Firm action

Severe punishments should be meted out for government officials who have violated Party rules in such ways as abuse of power, embezzlement of public funds, giving and receiving bribes, and dereliction of duty, Mu said in his report delivered to the congress.

In 2005, the procuratorates in Beijing put on record 292 corruption cases with the involvement of nearly 100 officials in senior departments, statistics from Mu's department revealed.

One of the corrupt high-ranking officials, former Land and Resources Minister Tian Fengshan, was jailed for life last month on charges of taking bribes as late as 2003, well after the start of the latest crackdown on graft and other abuses, reports said.

In another development, in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, almost 7,200 officials have received punishment due to corruption or malpractice concerns in Liaoning. Among them, 27 are director-general level senior officials.

The money involved in the cases is around 740 million yuan (US$92 million), according to Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection of Liaoning.

In the past year, every city of Liaoning Province has taken firm action in fighting corruption, especially those who were involved in taking bribes, the coal mine industry or the education fees issue.

Some public servants were ordered to quit their roles in coal mine businesses.

(China Daily January 19, 2006)

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