China's chief administrative authority, the State Council, released a report [text] on Wednesday outlining steps to fight corruption and build a cleaner government. The report recognizes that corruption remains a concern and states the aims of the Chinese government are to build a perfect system of punishment and prevention of corruption with more resolutions and powerful measures aimed at winning the people's confidence. The ruling party of China, the Communist Party of China (CPC) [official website], has also issued codes of conduct prohibiting party members from using their powers to seek illegitimate gains. Supervisory and auditing authorities will play a critical role in China's plans to tackle corruption, with the report stating that:
By promoting the principle of transparency in power exercise and the system of supervisors for building a clean government, the personnel for law and discipline enforcement have been encouraged to foster the sense of conscientious acceptance of supervision from all quarters, so as to constantly improve their capabilities and levels in law and discipline enforcement, thus providing the organizational guarantee for China's endeavor to combat corruption and build a clean government.The report highlights regulations which require party officials to disclose their incomes and investments and require officials to register gifts they have received. In addition, the report touts revision of the country's criminal laws to include embezzlement, bribery, dereliction of duty and holding property with an unidentified source. The report favorably recognizes the role of news media and the Internet in uncovering corruption in China and increasing transparency. Anti-corruption education is also identified as a critical tool in building a cleaner government.
The report is a continuation of the Chinese government's on-going battle against what is perceived to be pervasive corruption [JURIST news archive] in official channels. In July, the Chinese government executed a top judicial official [JURIST report] after a corruption probe in the southwestern city of Chongquing revealed he had taken nearly $2 million in bribes and had been protecting a number of organized crime gangs. In March, the Hebei Province People's High Court upheld a life sentence for the former vice president of China's Supreme People's Court (SPC), Huang Songyou, who had been convicted [JURIST reports] of bribery and embezzlement. Earlier that month, SPC president Wang Shengjun called for increased efforts to fight corruption [JURIST report] in the country's court system. In January, the SPC announced new anti-corruption rules [JURIST report] in an effort to increase public confidence in the rule of law.