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Friday, 5 January, 2001, 09:01 GMT
China steps up war on corruption

By Duncan Hewitt in Shanghai

The official in charge of China's anti-corruption campaign has called for greater efforts to deal with the problem in the year ahead.

Wei Jianxing, head of the country's discipline inspection commission, said the campaign yielded evident results last year.

He said over 136,000 communist officials disciplined and almost 43,000 cases brought to court.

Chinese official being tried for corruption
China has sentenced numerous officials to death
But he said officials in some areas were still not taking the problem seriously.

Cars recovered

Mr Wei stressed that the party was tackling the kind of official abuses which most aroused public anger.

He said it had recovered more than 5,000 cars and around 4,500 computers which officials had taken for their personal use.

But Mr Wei, number six in the Communist hierarchy, also admitted that officials in some regions and departments were still not fully implementing the anti-corruption campaign.

He said some even regarded it as a hindrance to economic development.

He said the campaign must be improved and listed new rules which require provincial officials to declare their wealth and that of their relatives.

No gifts

Officials will also be banned from accepting gifts or memberships from sports clubs, or taking jobs with local private or foreign companies until three years after they retire.

Poster of convicted official
Convicted officials have been made an example of
Mr Wei's comments follow a year in which unprecedented death sentences were handed down to a deputy chairman of China's parliament, a deputy provincial governor, as well as to 11 people involved in a smuggling scandal in the city of Xiamen.

But his speech also hinted at the anxiety within the leadership at revealing such high-level corruption.

He warned that hostile foreign forces were denigrating the campaign in order to suggest that the Communist Party could not solve its own problems.

Analysts said this appeared to be a reference to reporting of the issue by foreign media and overseas human rights groups.

Mr Wei also noted that corruption was caused not just by the dissatisfaction of officials at low pay, but also by moral weakness in the face of market economic reforms, and a sense of ideological crisis brought on by the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.

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See also:

21 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
China to execute corrupt boss
08 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Sexual bribery 'rising' in China
29 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
'Smuggling kingpin' loses freedom case
13 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Corruption: End of China's Party?
21 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
China officials 'to face death penalty'
09 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese corruption partner gets life
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