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UPDATED: March 13, 2012
China Fights Corruption to Build Clean Government

China's leaders have repeatedly stressed the need to stamp out corruption and build a clean government. This has been reinforced by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

On Sunday, they made their yearly reports to the National People's Congress session. This comes amid growing calls to stop corruption at its roots, and to improve the legal and supervisory system.

On their way to fighting corruption in China - Zheng Gongcheng, CPPCC member, said, "We should strengthen law enforcement to reduce the chances of crimes." Li Shaoling, NPC deputy, said, "China's economic development has created imbalance of incomes. There are loopholes in legal supervision."

Ma Shujie, NPC deputy from northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, said, "Supervision should come not only from the legal body, but also from public and society."

The country's law makers and political advisors are acutely aware of just how serious corruption is. And the lure of money means the government knows it can never relax its guard.

Cao Jianming, procurator general of Supreme People's Procuratorate, said, "In 2011, Chinese procurators have investigated 2,524 government officials above the county level for graft, and infringement of people's rights, including 7 of provincial or ministerial level."

The long list of high-profile convictions includes the former Mayor of Shenzhen, Xu Zongheng; the former Mayor of Zhongshan, Li Qihong; and the former Vice Chairman of China Mobile, Zhang Chunjiang.

The Supreme People's Court said it's determined to create a clean legal system and curb corruption at the root.

Wang Shengjun, president of Supreme People's Court, said, "We shall improve clean administration education and improve the long-term power monitoring mechanism. We shall continue to investigate activities which are illegal and run counter to Party discipline."

Public exhibitions like this, show the Communist Party sees corruption as a major threat to its leading role. The number of prosecutions is an indication of the extent of the problem, as well as the government's determination to act. Tighter preventive measures are being put into place.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said, "We will standardize matters subject to administrative approval. Leading officials are strictly forbidden to interfere in economic activities such as government procurement, project tendering and the auctioning of land-use and mining rights."

The reports from both the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court mention the importance of severe punishment for corruption. They have sent a clear message that the ruling Communist Party is determined to solve the problems generating public resentment, if not outrage.

The sheer numbers of the cases being released indicate the intensity of the anti-corruption campaign. But punishment alone will not get to the root of the matter and boost public confidence.

(CNTV.cn March 11, 2012)

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