Public office money making cannot go together: Li



Beijing: Sending a stern message to ruling Communist Party officials, China's new Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday warned that public offices and money making cannot go together and vowed to open his government for supervision to restore peoples' confidence.

Addressing his first press conference after assuming office, Premier Li announced that no new offices, halls or official guest houses would be constructed during his tenure and his government is willing to accept supervision from the society and media for clean governance.

"If one takes public office, he or she should cut off any expectation for getting rich," Li said apparently referring to the allegations of corruption by top officials of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).

Several officials including his predecessor, Wen Jiabao, were accused of amassing large scale assets.

The scale of corruption prompted new President Xi Jinping to warn that graft threatened CPC hold on the country.

"Pursuing government office and making money have been 'two separate lanes' since the ancient times," said Li, a doctorate in economics.

"Only by being upright one himself, can he then asks others to be upright," Li quoted a Chinese adage as saying.

"We are willing to accept supervision from the whole society and media," he said and urged a battle against corruption, which he described as "incompatible to reputation of the government, like fire to water."

He said a sound mechanism will be established to ensure that officials dare not and are unable to practise corruption and those corrupt will be punished by the law.

Li also promised to win trust from the people and bring benefits to them by practising frugality in government spending.

"Within my tenure, the government will not use public coffer to construct new offices, halls or guest houses for the government use," Li said.

He ensured that the number of government employees, spending on official hospitality, overseas trips for official purposes and purchases of official vehicles will be reduced.

The central government will set an example and governments at all levels must follow suit, he said.

"If the people are to live a good life, their government must be put on a tight budget," Li stressed.

He cited a recent report to show that the central fiscal revenues increased by only 1.6 per cent from January to February. "In the future," he said, "you might not see big growth of fiscal revenues in China."

He, however, said that spending on improvement of people's livelihood is a must for the government and will surely increase. "We have to cut spending on government operations," he said.

PTI