Page last updated at 05:33 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

China communists get new anti-corruption ethics code

By Quentin Sommerville
BBC News, Beijing
An official tip-off system for corrupt behaviour was deluged with visitors

In China, the Communist Party has issued a new 52-point ethics code, in an attempt to control growing corruption among officials.

The code bans members from property speculation, money-making deals, and lavish expenditure.

The last set of rules was issued 13 years ago.

Corruption has become an increasingly hot topic among the public - graft often tops the list of issues of most concern for ordinary Chinese citizens.

Lavish lives

Party officials should work hard to serve the people and avoid accepting gifts or using their influence to benefit family members, according to the new ethics code.

The guide bans lavish weddings and funerals, and overseas tours.

Officials should also stay out of profit-making deals, the code says.

But few do.

Some of the most senior party officials in China have been on the take - property speculation has been particularly popular.

The richer the country gets the bigger the sums involved.

Spending lavish amounts on government buildings or flash cars is also banned.

In some provinces, party and government headquarters are indistinguishable from plush five star hotels.

The latest luxury sedans are often used to ferry around officials.

China's one-party system has struggled to deal with endemic corruption, much to the annoyance of the general public.

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