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Gov't uses SMS to battle corruption
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Wang Ling, a 27 year-old IT engineer from Chongqing municipality, recently received a special short text message signed from the Beibei district procuratorate.

The message said: "To crack down on corruption is our common goal. Beibei District Procuratorate will offer a reward to informants for reporting corruption from 3,000 ($440) to 500,000 yuan. The hotline is 68342000."

"Some of my colleagues and relatives also received this text message. It is really a fresh way to reach citizens instead of posting a notice on the website," Wang said.

A total of 730,000 China Mobile users in Beibei district and Nanchuan district received the message.

It is the first time the city has encouraged citizens to report corruption via SMS (Short Message Service), Yang Hong, an official with the porocuratorate said.

The rewards are part of an anti-corruption drive, he said.

"Using SMS is a more direct way to transmit information, and it has a broader audience," Yang said.

"The move is to encourage more citizens to report corrupt activities in the public service. Around 370,000 citizens in Beibei district received such text messages."

By dialing the number, anyone can tell their stories, which will be recorded by an automatic recording system, he said.

Sources from the procuratorate said the hotline was really busy after the text messages were sent, and the procuratorate has received several valuable reports of corrupt activities, which are now under investigation.

"So far the effect is quite obvious. The calls have been flooding in during the past couple of weeks," Wang Xiaoxiong, an information officer with the procuratorate, said.

The number of calls received has exceeded the total number of reports received last year, he said.

(China Daily July 15, 2008)

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