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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
Chinese officials admit to graft
Undated photo of Zheng Xiaoyu, China's former head of the food and drug watchdog who was executed for corruption
Top official, Zheng Xiaoyu, was executed for corruption last month
Almost 1,800 officials confessed to corruption in June, a Chinese Communist Party watchdog has announced.

The officials were taking advantage of a month-long leniency offer that began on 30 May, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said.

Over the month, 1,790 people confessed to corruption totalling 77.89m yuan ($10.2m, 5m), a spokesman said.

China has been working hard to tackle official corruption, which has become a major trigger for public discontent.

"Some of the officials have corrected their mistakes and some are still under investigation, since we need to check whether they have confessed all their wrongdoings," CCDI spokesman Gan Yisheng said.

No details were given of what penalties the officials who confessed might face, Xinhua news agency said.

But Mr Gan said corrupt officials who had not confessed would face severe punishment, the agency reported.

Public anger

Corruption is one of the Communist Party's biggest problems and the thing that ordinary people criticise most bitterly, says the BBC's James Reynolds in Beijing.

Chinese gamers at an internet cafe in Shanghai (file photo)
Chinese gamers have embraced a game that tackles corrupt officials

He says they complain about officials with gold watches, driving around in black Mercedes, getting fat on bribes and free lunches and handing out all the best jobs to their friends and family.

Now, our correspondent says, Chinese President Hu Jintao wants to show that he is taking action, particularly with the party's key five-yearly congress looming.

Last week, the Communist Party's former leader in Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, was expelled from the party, and may now face charges, after he was linked to a pensions fund scandal that has also implicated other senior officials.

His expulsion follows the execution last month of Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the country's food and drug watchdog who was convicted of taking bribes to approve products.

But corruption is widespread, affecting local and provincial administrations, as well as the central government.

The popularity of an online game that allows players to eradicate corrupt officials illustrates the depth of feeling among ordinary people over the issue of graft.

The game, entitled "Incorruptible Fighter", was launched just over a week ago.

Since then, it has been downloaded more then 100,000 times and is in such demand that its website has crashed, state media reported.

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