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Anti-corruption efforts urged in universities
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China's discipline watchdog has called for universities and colleges to make further anti-corruption efforts and keep the campus clean for the students.

It has been revealed at a meeting on anti-corruption work in universities and colleges held in Beijing on Tuesday. More than 300 university and college's presidents attended the meeting.

He Guoqiang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said in a letter to the meeting that the anti-corruption work in universities was facing new challenges that demand comprehensive combating measures.

In recent years, China's educational institutions have been seen a rise of bribery and other scandals, a negative effect brought by the country's growing market economy to the campus.

Corruption found in universities has accounted for one fourth of the total cases uncovered from educational field, according to the discipline authority.

Xiong Bingqi, a scholar on higher education reform with the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said that with the expanding of China's higher education, corruption occurred in university's enrolment, financing, purchasing and infrastructure construction.

Statistics from the authority showed that 58 percent of corruption cases occurred in universities were found in infrastructure construction, purchasing and financing departments.

"Power without restriction and supervision lead to corruption," said Xiong, noting that top leaders in charge of various departments in universities often have the final determination.

To cope with corruption, Chinese universities have taken innovative methods that emphasize on both prevention and punishment.

Wang Shuguo, principal of Harbin Institute of Technology, said the top leaders of the universities should be better supervised.

In Wang's school, discipline staff regularly talk to chief leader of various departments and supervision teams were set up especially for all the construction projects.

In east China's Zhejiang University where expansion of campus was speeding up to take in more students, the whole process of infrastructure construction including bidding, purchasing, construction and auditing was announced on a special website open to public opinions.

"Each penny was spent under the sunlight," said Yang Wei, president of Zhejiang University, adding that the public opinions helped save more than 40 million yuan in the past two years.

Chen Xi, president of Tsinghua University, said the school reconstructed the accounting system and cleaned up 30 bank accounts, as a result, the financial status of the school was transparent and easy to be checked.

"Chinese universities achieved remarkable results in combating corruption and offered us good experiences," He Guoqiang said in the letter, urging all the universities to stay high alarm against corruption.

He stressed that university as the "ivory tower" for millions of young students tolerate no corruption or negative environment.

Min Weifang, head of Beijing University, said the school set up an open course including anti-corruption education for all the students on every Friday afternoon since 2006.

"Anti-corruption should be put ahead of graduation to help students resist harmful temptation," Min said.

"Corruption comes with the reform, and anti-corruption should also come up with the reform," said Gao Xinmin, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

After three corrupted staffs were discovered, Wuhan University in central China's Hubei Province regulated that personnel on high-risking positions should be reshuffled every three to four years to reduce chances for corruption.

Earlier this year, more than 40 universities in Zhejiang Province joined a corruption-prevention network with the provincial procuratorate body. With the help of this network, a series of anti-corruption education will be introduced to the universities.

(Xinhua News Agency September 24, 2008)

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