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'Storms' Not Best Solution

Rule of law should not be implemented by stormy political campaigns but should rely on long-term systematic reforms, according to an editorial in China Youth Daily. An excerpt follows:

"Audit storm" is a heated term in media nowadays and a hot topic for discussion nationwide. It refers to the shocking ramifications of Auditor-General Li Jinhua's report that exposed embezzlement of public funds in some central government departments.

Though some quarters have expressed little surprise over the revelation, others have called for more storm-like action, such as an "anti-corruption storm" or "responsibility storm" to tackle those problems.

The term "audit storm," however, is inappropriate. It gives the impression of a short-term political campaign.

In the past, tempest-like political movements did help curb corruption to a certain extent in the planned economy. But as a whole, they may have brought more harm than good. Political campaigns came one after another before 1978 and the biggest of them all - the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) - finally drove our national economy to the brink of collapse.

China's current stage of development has only been achieved after the country gave up a political movement-centred mentality and adopted the policy of reform and opening to the outside world in 1978.

Institutional transition is a systematic project that should be accomplished by gradual reforming. Stormy campaigns may be able to tackle some imminent issues, but such partial, temporary and unstable results can also erect more obstacles on the road to social development. Thus the breeding of democracy and enhancing of supervision should only be promoted by gradual and sustainable reforms.

Problems revealed by Auditor-General Li's report, as well as all other illegal activities, should be properly dealt with according to law.

(China Daily July 17, 2004)

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