China punishes officials over graft

More than 3,000 officials jailed for stealing stimulus money and taking bribes.

    China has been criticised by many analysts for not tackling corruption enough [AFP]

    "Today, with many corruption cases likely to happen, if we don't take tough measures, it will be hard to suppress this," Mingjin added.

    Fu Kui, the head of the ministry's enforcement department, said: "We will tackle corruption with a heavy fist."

    Bribe-taking and other money-related abuses by government officials are not uncommon in China.

    In 2008, the country was ranked 72 of 179 countries suffering from widespread corruption by politicians and officials in a report released by Transparency International, a non-government organisation.

    Means of corruption include graft, bribery, embezzlement, and backdoor deals.

    'Threat to future'

    A recent study by Minxin Pei, the director for the China programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said corruption threatened China's economic future.

    "Failure to contain endemic corruption among Chinese officials poses one of the most serious threats to the nation’s future economic and political stability," the report said.

    "(In China) Roughly 10 per cent of government spending, contracts, and transactions is estimated to be used as kickbacks and bribes, or simply stolen.

    Pei examined the root causes for the corruption, which includes "partial economic reforms, lax enforcement efforts, and reluctance by the Communist Party to adopt political reforms".

    "Though the Chinese government has more than 1,200 laws, rules, and directives against corruption, implementation is spotty and ineffective.

    "The odds of a corrupt official going to jail are less than three per cent, making corruption a high-return, low-risk activity," he said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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