Premier Wen promises improved administrative transparency

Premier Wen Jiabao Monday pledged to improve the transparency of the government’s operations and create more conditions for the public to supervise the government.

The anti-corruption work at present is still not up to the expectations of the public, Wen acknowledged at the State Council’s annual conference on anti-corruption work.

“Corruption is the most crucial threat to the ruling party,” Wen stressed, adding that corruption may completely undermine the country’s political foundations if not dealt with properly.

Wen also gave a briefing on the anti-corruption policies to be adopted in six major areas, including government procurement, project bidding, publication of budgets and cutting administrative costs.

Those reform plans highlighted various institutional arrangements concerning intensified supervision of powers and enhanced transparency.

Wen urged the country to speed up the establishment of a unified electronic platform for government procurement and a national market for project bidding and transactions of public resources.

Public money is banned from being used for buying cigarettes, high-end liquor and gifts, and state-owned or controlled enterprises and financial entities are forbidden to sponsor ceremonies, seminars and forums unrelated to their business operation, Wen stressed.

Wen also urged ministries and local government agencies to ease the restrictions on social investments and provide equal access for private investors.

On the use of public funds, Wen noted that public spending on receptions, vehicle purchases and maintenance, and overseas travel should be open to public scrutiny.

Wen’s address also indicated that the rules for limited-scoped publication of senior officials’ personal information “would be researched and promoted.”

Personal information includes income, investments, marital status and overseas travel of the official and his or her family members.

Wen particularly called for a prompt response to complaints raised by the public and problems exposed by the media.

Those issues should be carefully investigated and handled in accordance with the law while the result should be provided or made public, said Wen.

Earlier in January, a communique issued after a plenary meeting of the discipline watchdog of the Communist Party of China (CPC) called 2012 “a year of significance” for deepening the anti-corruption drive.

It also called for efforts in tapping the positive role of new media, including the Internet, in facilitating China’s anti-corruption drive and upgrading its campaigns against corruption in key areas that have been the subject of complaints from the public.

According to the reports adopted at the annual parliamentary session early this month, Chinese prosecutors had investigated 2,524 officials found to be corrupt at or above the county head level, with 198 at the prefectural level and seven at the ministerial level in 2011.

Meanwhile, 29,000 people had been convicted of embezzlement, bribery or malfeasance last year.

“The task of anti-corruption remains arduous,” said the communique, which called for greater efforts in building a system of corruption prevention and control.

Xinhua