The Shanghai Party discipline inspection authority has sought to enhance supervision over local officials and curb power abuse in the wake of the social security fund scandal.
Cheng Zhiqiang, deputy secretary of the Shanghai Party Discipline Inspection Committee, said the committee has issued two important papers lately, aiming to increase supervision of the political powers of high-level officials.
The rules stipulate that important decisions like restructuring of state-owned assets, budget planning and management of large funds shall be made collectively and any form of autocracy is not allowed, Cheng said.
"The officials shall carry out their duties with caution and the decision process shall be more transparent," Cheng said, adding that they will seek new ways to strengthen supervision by government agencies and the people and press.
The papers are formulated in accordance with Chinese laws to patch up holes in governance exposed by the social security fund scandal and to set up a more effective system to check power abuse, Cheng said.
The local discipline inspection committees will have a bigger say in selection and promotion of officials. "Before promotions are given, the disciplinary committees need to be informed and given enough time to see if the candidate is up to the job. Appointment of key officials has to be approved by the committees first," Cheng said.
According to the new rules, the Party and government officials need to report and update information on their personal lives as well as work on a regular basis during their tenure.
Discipline supervisors and Party organization officials will also meet face-to-face with the cadres and send letters inquiring into their work that require a response, Cheng said.
From May 30 to June 30 this year, the committee has talked with 595 cadres to remind them to resist decadence and prevent corruption, Cheng said. During this period, 14 officials voluntarily reported their misconduct and one official has been handed over to prosecutors.
Shanghai's social security fund scandal, exposed to the public last year, involved 3.7 billion yuan (US$474 million), most of which was misappropriated to invest in real estate, highways and other projects.
Former Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu was sacked last year from his post for his involvement in the scandal. Thirteen officials have been expelled from the Party in connection with the scandal. Chen is now detained in jail and waits for trial.
(Xinhua News Agency August 8, 2007)