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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 11:48 GMT
China cracks down on inside deals
Chinese President Hu Jintao
Mr Hu is keen to clean up corruption to prevent social unrest
China has warned its government officials against profiting from insider trading, the state news agency Xinhua has reported.

Communist Party officials found to be acting on privileged information in stock market or business deals will be punished, the corruption watchdog said.

China has identified government corruption as a major problem.

The corruption drive comes ahead of the Beijing Olympics as China prepares to face mounting international scrutiny.

China's President Hu Jianto has previously warned that corruption threatens the Communist Party's survival.

Anti-corruption drive

China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's anti-corruption watchdog, called for improvements to the regulatory framework in place to tackle corruption and malpractice.

According to the Xinhua news agency, it said its efforts would be focused on cases involving prominent officials colluding with business people to benefit from construction bids, land sales and property rights.

In addition, using sensitive information to profit from the stock market would also come under fresh scrutiny.

Wrongdoers could face dismissal as well as punishment under the legal code, the report said, but did not give any specific details.

Some officials have already been caught up in earlier attempts to clamp down on corruption, and in 2006 Shanghai's Communist Party boss, Chen Liangyu, was sacked over misuse of funds.

He now faces a criminal investigation.



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