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Corruption on Decline, But Big Fish Caught

With punishment meted out to nearly 50,000 corrupt members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over the last two years, a senior party member said corruption cases are on the decline.

He Yong, deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC, said while the total number of corrupt cases are fewer, there are more cases involving higher-ranking officials who take bigger bribes and embezzlements.

He stressed that the CPC Central Committee "has the determination, capacity and tools to root out corruption."

He made the remarks in an interview with the latest issue of Study Times.

"Our anti-corruption campaign and party discipline enhancement are extremely important for the CPC. A lot of achievements have been made, but we must be aware that corrupt activities still exist," he said. "The people hate corruption and require the CPC and government to take strong actions to stop it."

In the past two years, China prosecuted and punished nearly 50,000 corrupt officials at various levels in the nationwide anti-corruption drive, according to the latest government figures.

Meanwhile, the government has made efforts to prevent common people's interests from being hurt by corrupt officials who have been accused of illegally confiscating farmers' land, embezzling public funds and delaying payment of migrant workers' wages.

"Despite the decline in the overall number of corruption cases there is a greater number of cases involving higher ranking officials who are accused of taking larger bribes and severely impairs the image of the CPC and government," He said.

He's interview coincided with the trial of Han Guizhi, former chairwoman of the Heilongjiang Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Tian Fengshan, former minister of land and resources.

Han was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on Thursday for accepting bribes worth 7 million yuan.

On charges of accepting bribes, Tian's trail began Tuesday at Beijing's No.2 Intermediate People's Court. Tian is accused of accepting more than 4 million yuan (US$500,000) in bribes between 1995 and 2003, when he was governor of Heilongjiang Province and later land and resources minister.

Corruption is still serious, He said. "The achievements of the anti-corruption campaign are still far below the requirements of the CPC Central Committee and the expectations of the common people."

"At this transitional period of fundamental structural reform, loopholes exist in China's administrative mechanism," he said, stressing an effective anti-corruption system has yet to be established.

"Greed, hedonism and egoism have grown among a few officials during the development of China's socialist market economy," he said.

On the future of anti-corruption measures, He said the CPC and government will focus on supervision and further improve administrative mechanism.

(Xinhua News Agency December 19,  2005)

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