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Over 1.11 mn officials probed for corruption in China

Last Updated: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 17:43

Beijing: Chinese prosecutors are probing more than 1.11 million officials besides over 8.30 lakh enterprises for complaints of corruption as President Xi Jinping stepped up his anti-graft drive invoking Mao Zedong`s similar campaign decades ago.

Chinese prosecutors received more than six lakh inquiries about bribery records involving companies or individuals in the first six months registering a 76.5 per cent rise from the same period last year, the Chinese Supreme People`s Procuratorate (SPP) said in a statement.

More than 8.30 lakh enterprises, institutions and more than 1.11 million individuals were inquired, state-run China Daily quoted the SPP as saying.

The SPP has targeted construction projects, government procurement, public resources use, bank loans, the purchase of pharmaceutical and medical equipment, transportation, commerce, and personnel management, the report said.

Meanwhile, Xi invoked Mao`s austerity drive six decades ago to advance his anti-graft drive to cleanse the party during a visit last week to the People`s Liberation Army`s (PLA) headquarters.

Xi, who took over the leadership of the ruling Communist Party of China, the military and President from Hu Jintao early this year, came up with "six nos" barring officials from hosting birthday parties and exchanging presents.

Xi likened party members` efforts to meet the guidelines to a student going through rigid exams - they had failed to shape up.

He said his campaign to rid the party of "formalism, bureaucratism and hedonism and extravagance" would help them make the grade.

He is on a tour to to push his year-long "mass line" campaign, which is designed to bolster the party`s ties to the people amid growing discontent over corruption.

Unveiled in April, the campaign obliges officials from the county level or higher to "reflect on their own practices and correct any misbehaviour" in accordance with public sentiment.

The campaign`s similarity to Mao`s efforts has caused unease, the South China Morning Post reported. Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said Xi`s attempt to revive some of Mao`s legacy underscored that the party was suffering from a lack of creativity.

"It has no other choice but to delve into some of the old doctrines even though they have had little appeal, particularly among the older generations," he said, noting growing disappointment with Xi among those who hoped for change.

"That`s why we have seen his popularity go down." Zhang told Post that the "mass line" campaign could do little to shake up the party as it lacked support from low-level authorities who would condemn it as another formality.

He noted, however, that Xi could still use it as a political tool to purge undesired cadres and consolidate his power base.

Sima Nan, a leftist and conservative scholar, said that Xi`s mass line campaign was less about leaning to the left, than reaffirming a fundamental party doctrine for the party.

Sima said that Xi`s mass-line movement was of greater significance because it specifically targeted official corruption, which the public has blamed for widening the wealth gap and pushing rapid development at the expense of the environment.
"I have my concerns that such a campaign could become another formality as with some other campaigns because the central authorities might not necessarily bring lower-level authorities on board," Sima told the South China Morning Post said.
"They have developed many sophisticated ways of pushing ahead with their own priorities without overtly upsetting higher authorities," Sima said adding his predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin made such trips.


First Published: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 17:43

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