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China's communist party watchdog seizes US$9B in illegal assets in 5 years

BY PETE SANKEY
Senior associate editor
sankeyp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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BEIJING, China — China appears to be winning the fight against corruption, according to data presented by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The Commission — the CPC's top disciplinary watchdog — said US$9.36 billion in illegal assets from ill-gotten gains were seized over the last five years.

A report outlining the data was presented Monday at a plenary session of the committee, which will be presented at the CPC's 19th National Congress scheduled to open October 18 here in the Chinese capital.

The China Daily newspaper, in a report carried in its October 10 edition, said one senior official has been expelled from the party following recommendations from the anti-corruption watchdog. The official, He Ting, former director of the Chongqing Public Security Bureau, and a former deputy mayor, was ordered into early retirement for his alleged engagements in “superstitious activities to get political promotion, resisted a disciplinary inspection and disobeyed austerity rules introduced by the central leadership of the CPC to reduce undesirable work practices”.

The China Daily report, quoting a statement from the CCDI, said: “He wasted public property, went to private clubs, frequently had banquets provided by private entrepreneurs, and improperly used public vehicles and offices.”

He was also accused of improperly promoting officials and of not telling the truth when questioned by the commission.

The newspaper report said the CCDI also approved the suspension of two other senior members of the CPC for anti-graft violations. The corruption body, however, did not say why the two were recommended for disciplinary action and it was not clear if this information will be made public next week at the CPC's National Congress — the highest decision-making body of the party.

One of the officers was placed on a one-year probation within the party and recommended to be removed from membership of the anti-corruption body, while the other was given a two-year probation, “for serious violation of party discipline”.

According to the newspaper report, since members of the CCDI were elected in late 2012, the commission has undertaken a massive campaign against corruption and extravagance.

The commission has:

• Investigated 280 senior members at or above ministerial level; 66,000 at country chief level; and 8,600 at bureau or department level (one rank below ministerial level);

• handed over 14,000 to judicial authorities for suspected corruption in 2015; 12,000 in 2014; and 9,600 in 2013. Figures for 2016 were not available; and

• more than 3,000 fugitives wanted for graft returned to China as of August 1 this year.

In the meantime, the report said the annual survey of the National Bureau of Statistics on the public satisfaction rate towards anti-corruption measures of the party and government jumped to 92.9 per cent in 2016, compared to 75 per cent in 2012. In 2013 it was 81 per cent; 88.4 per cent in 2014; and 91.5 per cent in 2015.

And as the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China prepares for its National Congress next week, various groups will continue to meet this week in preparation for the event, which will have 2,287 delegates in attendance. They were selected from a membership of 89 million.

One youth group delegate, Xu Chuan, a 35-year-old associate professor at Nanjing University of Aeronautics, told reporters this week at the State Council Information Office that the issues he cares most about are all related to education in the next five years.

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