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Graft fight escalates in first half of year

By Zhang Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-21 08:25

About 210,000 people have been disciplined by anti-graft agencies across the country in the first half of this year, an increase of nearly 30 percent over the same period last year, according to China's top graft-buster.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's top anti-corruption body, published the results of disciplinary efforts in the first half of 2017 on Thursday.

Of those punished, 38 officials were at the provincial level-slightly fewer than the 41 punished in the same period last year.

The anti-graft efforts have achieved remarkable results since late 2012, when a nationwide fight against corruption began, said Zhuang Deshui, deputy head of the Research Center for Government Integrity-Building at Peking University.

The results show that the anti-graft system has worked and that no corrupt behavior escapes the notice of the authorities, Zhuang said, adding that the relentless effort and a zero-tolerance stance on punishing corrupt behavior have been validated.

According to announcements from courts at all levels, more than 30 officials at or above provincial level were convicted in the first half of this year, exceeding the total number convicted in 2016.

Among them, Zhao Liping, a former senior political adviser in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, was executed in May for homicide, firearms possession and taking bribes. He became the first government official at the provincial level to be executed since the big anti-graft push began.

Zhuang said the work of going after powerful "tigers" (senior officials) as well as lowly "flies" (grassroots government functionaries) has sped up. Putting the tigers into "cages" is a priority for law enforcement bodies, he said; therefore the sentences were comparatively intense in the first half of the year.

As "tigers" are sentenced to jail, lowly functionaries are also forced to face the music.

According to the CCDI's statement on Thursday, 129,000 people punished in the first half of this year were at the village level or worked in companies and other nongovernmental organizations.

Anti-graft agencies nationwide have also reported more than 320 cases in which lower government functionaries were held accountable for misconduct or dereliction of duty.

All of this is the result of a Communist Party of China ordinance on the accountability of Party members that took effect a year ago, said Du Zhizhou, deputy head of the Research and Education Center of Government Integrity at Beihang University in Beijing. Responsibility comes with public power, Du said.

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