Top Chinese leaders asked to disclose assets
Beijing: The new leaders of Chinese Communist Party have been asked by over 1,000 lawyers, academics and professionals to disclose their family assets to keep up with crackdown against corruption launched by the ruling Party's new General Secretary Xi Jinping.
They signed an open letter calling for newly chosen 360 members of the Communist Party's Central Committee to publicly disclose their family assets to rein in corruption.
Central Committee is the highest body of the Party. It is controlled by 25 member politburo and seven member Standing Committee headed by Xi, who was elected as the General Secretary replacing Hu Jintao.
The letter, to be sent to the National People's Congress, argues the members of the powerful committee must reassure the public that they are doing only the people's business.
Signatories said they were emboldened by Xi's warning last month that corruption threatens the party's rule, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
"In the face of a grave situation, we ask the officials to declare their assets from the top down in accordance with their seniority," the letter said.
"They control huge public resources and authorities, which has a bearing on the happiness and well being of 1.3 billion people," it said.
The letter follows recent allegations that families of the leaders have accumulated huge assets.
A New York Times report had alleged that Premier Wen Jiabao family has accumulated USD 2.7 billion assets over the years. A Bloomberg report had also alleged that Xi's family has accumulated large amount of assets.
Sun Hanhui, a Beijing-based corporate legal adviser who co-authored the letter, said the letter and signatures would be sent to the NPC, the mainland's legislature, in time for its March meeting.
Public calls for disclosure of officials' assets-widely seen as a key first step in fighting corruption have gained momentum in recent months amid a raft of scandals that have implicated several high-ranking officials, including former Politburo member Bo Xilai.
Before his elevation to the Politburo's powerful Standing Committee last month, former Shanghai party secretary Yu Zhengsheng said that he could accept a decision by the central government to mandate disclosure as he had nothing to hide.
Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang, who is seen as a leading party voice for reform, also said at the 18th National Party Congress last month that leaders should look for ways to mandate disclosure at provincial level.