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UPDATED: September 26, 2007 NO. 40 OCTOBER 4, 2007
Bribe-busting Bureau Formed
China's creation of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention demonstrates a desire to stop the rising tide of scandal

Besides the requirement of domestic anti-corruption work, the conception of the NBCP was also part of China's efforts to fulfill its commitments to joining the UN Convention Against Corruption. Article Six of the convention says that each state party shall, in accordance with the fundamental principles of its legal system, ensure the existence of a body or bodies of corruption prevention; the bodies should be granted necessary independence to ensure that they can carry out their functions effectively and free from any undue influence. The convention also demands that state parties should provide necessary material resources and specialized staff, as well as the training that such staff may require to carry out their functions.

According to Ren, the Chinese Government has actively worked to implement the UN Convention Against Corruption ever since China signed it in December 2003. The feasibility study for establishing the NBCP was conducted by a coordination agency consisting of officials from 25 government departments, said Ma at a press conference.

Non-coercive measures

In the UN Convention Against Corruption, the functions of anti-corruption bodies have been described as implementing the policies to fight corruption, coordinating and overseeing those policies and disseminating knowledge about the prevention of corruption.

Briefing the media on how the NBCP will carry out its work, Ma said that it will conduct studies of comprehensive and strategic issues on corruption prevention, explore preventive measures, study the causes of corruption and create new anti-corruption systems.

Qu Wanxiang, Vice Director of the NBCP, said that his agency will also coordinate the prevention of corruption in companies, social welfare institutions, non-governmental organizations and other groups in civil society and conduct international cooperation on corruption prevention.

"We used to target corruption prevention only at government agencies. But the new NBCP will expand the supervision arena to cover companies and non-governmental organizations amid the swelling corruption that has gone beyond government organizations and taken an increasing economic toll," said Qu.

Answering questions on the powers of the new bureau, Qu said the NBCP does not have coercive powers to interrogate or detain people. "These coercive powers, which cannot be abused, can only be used by a handful of organizations and must be granted by legislature," said Qu. He said the next step for his agency is to promote the establishment of a personal wealth registration system of government officials.

Challenges ahead

Directly under the State Council, China's cabinet, the NBCP is an administrative organ dedicated to fighting corruption. It faces serious challenges to coordinate corruption prevention work in government organizations and in civil society and cooperate with legislative and judicial organs in preventing corruption. The best scenario is that new laws and regulations will clarify the roles of different organizations in preventing corruption so that a network can be formed with no overlapping functions.

"This is a difficult barrier to overcome, and the new bureau still has a long way to go," said an editorial in Beijing-based daily newspaper The Beijing News.

According to anti-corruption experiences from other countries, building an independent anti-corruption team is the only way to maintain a clean team of civil servants. Professor Wang Guixiu from the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC said it is the NBCP's ability to work independently that holds the key to its success.

Provincial or Ministerial-level Officials Charged with Corruption since 2002

Liu Fangren, former Secretary of the Guizhou Provincial CPC Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the provincial People's Congress.

Liu, found guilty of taking bribes totaling 6.77 million yuan during his incumbency, was sentenced to life imprisonment. All of the bribes Liu accepted were confiscated along with his personal property.

Gao Yan, former President of the China State Power Corporation

He was expelled from the Party on bribery charges.

Wang Huaizhong, former Vice-Governor of Anhui Province

He was sentenced to death for accepting bribes totaling 5.17 million yuan and holding large amounts of assets worth 4.8 million yuan that he could not account for. His personal property was confiscated.

Han Guizhi, former Chairwoman of the Heilongjiang Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

She was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on charges of taking bribes totaling 7.02 million yuan. All her personal property was confiscated.

Wang Zhaoyao, former Deputy Secretary of the provincial CPC Committee of Anhui Province

He was accused of taking bribes amounting to 7.04 million and failing to account for property worth 6.5 million yuan. He was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and all his property was seized.

Wang Youjie, former Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Henan Provincial People's Congress

He was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on charges of receiving bribes worth 6.34 million yuan and possessing 8.9 million yuan worth of property he was unable to account for.

Jin Fusheng, member of the provincial committee of the CPC of Fujian Province

He was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of taking bribes totaling 7.67 million yuan.

Du Shicheng, former Deputy Secretary of the Shandong Provincial Committee of the CPC

He was dismissed from his post and expelled from the Party after being found guilty of taking bribes of several million yuan and leading a dissolute life. His bribery case is being investigated and he is still awaiting trial.

Liu Zhihua, former Vice Mayor of Beijing

Before being expelled from his post, he was found guilty of taking bribes of several million yuan, having extra-marital affairs and using his powers to seek illegitimate interests for project contractors who bribed him. He was dismissed from the Party and is waiting for the results of a judicial investigation.

Qiu Xiaohua, former Director of the National Bureau of Statistics

He was suspected of taking bribes from company owners, leading a dissolute life and having extra-marital affairs. He was dismissed from his post and the Party. His case is still under investigation by judicial departments.

Zheng Xiaoyu, former head of the State Food and Drug Administration

He was sentenced to death for exploiting his grip on drug approval powers to squeeze bribes from medicine companies totaling 6.49 million yuan. All his personal property was confiscated. He was executed in July.

Chen Liangyu, former Secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPC

He was sacked for his involvement in a social security fund scandal involving a huge amount of money. According to a preliminary investigation, Chen was also involved in other discipline violations, such as "helping further the economic interests of illegal business-people, protecting staff who severely violated laws and discipline and furthering the interests of family members by taking advantage of his official posts." He has been removed from the Party and is under investigation by judicial departments.

(Source: Procuratorial Daily, September 1, 2007)

Achievements in Corruption Elimination

 Between November 1992 and June 2002, the Party discipline inspection commissions and government supervision authorities investigated more than 1.59 million corruption cases and as a result 259,00 officials were dismissed from the Party. Of the punished Party members and government officials, over 49,000 were county-level officials and more than 4,100 were prefecture-level officials.

In 2004, Party discipline inspection commissions and government supervision authorities investigated a total of 166,705 corruption cases and punished 170,850 officials, of whom 5,966 were county-level officials, 431 were prefecture-level officials and 16 were provincial or ministerial-level officials.

Between January and November of 2006, procuratorial authorities investigated 38,457 officials suspected of corruption and dereliction of duty involved in 32,369 cases, including 2,632 officials of county level or above.

Between August 2005 and September 2006, a total of 10,992 commercial bribery cases were investigated, involving a total sum of 3.286 billion yuan. Of all these cases, 23.1 percent or 2,537 involved civil servants, with 835 million yuan received in bribes. A total of 68 prefecture-level officials and 511 county-level officials were investigated for the cases.

(Source: Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC)

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