Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Corruption up among China government officials

100 yuan notes - file photo
China's Communist Party has repeatedly vowed to curb corruption

China's anti-corruption watchdog has said that 106,000 officials were found guilty of corruption in 2009, an increase of 2.5% on the year before.

The number of government officials caught embezzling more than one million yuan ($146,000; £91,000) jumped by 19% over the year.

The government says the increase is due to better supervision of the problem.

But corruption is consistently rated the number one concern by Chinese, ahead of pirated goods and pollution.

There is widespread anger at the ostentatious lifestyle enjoyed by some Communist Party officials, police chiefs and bosses of state-owned companies, says the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Beijing.

With no independent oversight of the ruling communists, corruption has bloomed, our correspondent adds.

Executives targeted

The results of a survey published in the state-run China Daily indicated nearly 60% of respondents thought corruption was doing the most damage to China's reputation abroad, ahead of counterfeit and shoddy products and pollution.

The Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection - the anti-corruption watchdog - said on Thursday it would target corrupt executives of state-owned enterprises.

A number of senior executives are already being investigated or have been convicted for taking bribes or other charges, such as falsifying accounts.

One, the former head of oil giant Sinopec, Chen Tonghai, was sentenced to death last year for taking nearly $30m in bribes. His sentence has been suspended for two years, which means it is likely to be commuted to life in prison.

The head of the China National Nuclear Corporation - overseeing the country's nuclear industry - was dismissed and is under investigation over allegations of bid rigging in nuclear power plant construction worth $260m.

Analysts say the system of the government appointing executives to state-owned corporations and a lack of subsequent supervision allows corruption to flourish.

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