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Campaign Targets Officials' Conduct
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A campaign aimed at redressing damages to the public interest caused by officials' negligent behavior will be launched ahead of the 17th Congress of Communist Party of China (CPC) this fall.

The country's senior leadership has also called for closer monitoring of public officials, particularly in the medical and educational sectors, which have been plagued by corruption in recent years.

These sectors have also generated a lot of public complaints.

"The key to redressing unhealthy tendencies lies in building systems," Premier Wen Jiabao said in an address to a national meeting in Guangzhou yesterday aimed at redressing bad practices.

"The departments under the State Council should take the lead," he said.

The meeting came after President Hu Jintao urged officials to rectify their bad practices and called for more ethics training at the annual work meeting of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the CPC's top corruption watchdog, last December.

Particular scrutiny

Three kinds of bad practices will be under particular scrutiny, the Oriental Outlook reported yesterday.

Abuse of power in exchange for personal gain, inequitable clauses and hidden rules within certain industries will be the target of a harsh crackdown, it reported.

"Eliminating bad practices and cracking down on corruption are closely related to national stability and the public interest," said Wu Guanzheng, secretary of the CCDI, in a letter addressed to yesterday's meeting.

Governments and CPC committees should do more to fight commercial corruption in the purchase and distribution of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and services, Wu said.

Irregularities in the educational sector like overcharging for tuition fees and the infringement of farmers' interests are also serious problems, Wu said.

Wu also stressed the public's important role in curbing these bad practices.

The authorities investigated 2,755 commercial bribery cases and penalised 693 officials in the health sector last year. The cases involved more than 100 million yuan (US$12.9 million).

Meanwhile, overcharging of school fees is rampant in some areas even though the government officially granted free compulsory education to all rural students earlier this year.

(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2007)

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