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Targeting the roots of corruption in China

With 16 government officials, either vice-ministers or at a higher level, have been s placed under investigation for abuse of power over past six months or more. With there being no signs of the momentum subsiding, there is no doubt about the top leadership's resolve to tackle corruption.

With the recent publication of the latest auditing report, which lists the abuse of power by central government departments and state-owned enterprises, it is not difficult understand that the top authorities are fighting an all-out war against corruption with a view to making it risky, if not impossible, for officials to abuse the power they have.

At the end of June, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee adopted a programme to reform the party's discipline inspection mechanism, and five provinces and three central government departments have been designated as pilot units to trial the reform.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC has also been drafting rules for dispatching discipline inspection teams to both central government departments and institutions of the CPC Central Committee.

It is obvious that a supervisory mechanism of the party's disciplinary watchdog is in the making, which will hopefully administrate in a unified manner all the discipline inspection teams sent to government departments and party institutions.

The message is that the top leadership does not want to just sweep the surface, it wants to dig deeper to uncover and remove the roots of corruption.

The disciplinary inspection teams or groups stationed in various departments but directly under the leadership of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection will ideally become part of the permanent anti-graft mechanism, which will not only have a deterrent effect, it will also mean they will exercise the right of supervision over the leadership of a department.

In the past, the anti-graft campaign was always accused of being able to only deal with the symptoms of corruption without ever being able to dig out the roots of abuse of power.

That some ministerial level officials did not have any idea they were being investigated until they were notified suggests that the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is becoming increasingly competent in fulfilling its mission as the Party watchdog. Its building of a permanent top to bottom anti-graft mechanism points to the importance the top leadership attaches to clear up the soil in which corruption grows.


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