The battle against corruption in China has been further highlighted with 444 government officials in north China's Shanxi Province disciplined in a recently completed three-month campaign.
The provincial disciplinary watchdog's strike is being regarded as a powerful end to the past year's fight against corruption which saw the fall of numerous high-ranking officials.
The most infamous case was that of the former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu who was allegedly involved in a social security fund scandal.
Other sacked senior officials include vice mayor of Beijing, Liu Zhihua; top procurator of Tianjin, Li Baojin; vice governor of Anhui, He Minxu and deputy head of Jiangsu provincial legislature, Wang Wulong.
Apart from the crackdown on power abuse, illegal private gains and dereliction of duty the ruling party pointed its anti-graft drive at commercial bribery.
Statistics show that over the first 10 months of last year China dealt with 8,010 commercial bribery cases involving 880 million yuan (US$110 million). Procuratorates at various levels approved the arrest of 5,117 suspects and prosecuted 4,212 of them.
By September last year China's courts had heard 233 bribery cases related to company employees and 5,429 such cases involving government workers. These figures are up 10.43 percent and 3.5 percent respectively compared to the first nine months of the previous year.
Commercial bribery normally refers to bribes offered by companies to government officials in exchange for favors.
Gan Yisheng, an official with the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said the anti-graft work focused on three areas -- dignifying Party and government regulations, identifying corrupt officials and deterring commercial bribery.
Wu Guanzheng, head of the commission, has urged Party members to have appropriate ideas about power, benefits and morality and to resist temptation and bribery.
The commission is striving to set up a comprehensive legal framework to fight corruption and establishing 'clean' government by 2010. The specific regulations, systems and mechanisms to improve the framework will be in place by 2020.
(Xinhua News Agency January 9, 2007)