Restricting the power of government leaders at various levels within reasonable limits is something the central government has been doing for the past couple of years. How effective this effort is will make a great difference to the ongoing campaign against corruption.
The regulations on auditing the economic and financial responsibilities of leaders, released by the State Council this week, are apparently a new move to further make sure that these leaders will be scrupulous when making decisions.
The new rules mean for the first time ministers and provincial governors will be regularly audited. The new rules also stipulate that a joint auditing team will be organized at all levels, involving officials from the Party's disciplinary inspection commission, organizational department, auditing office, the Ministry of Supervision and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Such a joint team will make it possible for officials from different departments to supervise each other and also make it difficult for the leaders being audited to bribe their way out of trouble.
What is noteworthy is that the rules have specified the violations top leaders are most likely to commit. These include top leaders' decisions that are against relevant rules or laws; their assent, in whatever way, to their subordinates doing anything against the rules or laws; and arbitrary decisions on projects that have resulted in economic losses. Collective leadership and decision-making in governments and their departments is the best way to prevent abuse of power.
Statistics from the State Auditing Office show that auditing efforts from 2008 to October this year resulted in 7,200 cases of government officials at various levels being transferred to judiciary departments for further investigation into their abuse of power. The total number of government and Party leaders at all levels that the auditing office has audited reached more than 410,000 in the same period.
Auditing has become an effective way to uncover the offenses that government officials have committed. Therefore, it can act as a deterrent. That explains why the central government has released the new rules with a view to intensifying the auditing efforts in both procedure and targeted areas.
Hopefully, the new rules will be carried out to the letter so that the auditors will be even more effective in cracking down on the abuse of power. And therefore their efforts will better facilitate the national anti-corruption campaign.