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Top official vows punishment for quake relief corruption
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A top Chinese official vowed on Thursday that any corruption in the use of quake relief would be severely punished.

Corruption, embezzlement or manipulation of bidding for projects that cause serious consequences would be severely punished, said He Guoqiang, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

He, also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, called for transparency in the process of using quake-relief goods and funds, saying "the source, quantity and description of the goods and funds should be made public in a timely fashion."

Quake-relief authorities at various levels should enhance cooperation and fulfill their monitoring and management responsibilities, he said.

He also called for more public information on the policies that cover the allocation, use and scrutiny of quake-relief goods and funds.

A magnitude-8.0 earthquake struck Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province on May 12. It is feared that once the fate of all those listed as missing is clarified, the death toll will top 87,000.

The estimated losses from that quake are estimated at 845.1 billion yuan (about 121 billion U.S. dollars).

Another quake measuring 6.1 on the Ritcher Scale hit southwest Sichuan Province and Yunnan Province on Saturday, killing at least 38 as of 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2008)

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