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China’s anti-corruption drive sees tighter rules for officials’ families

New guidelines from the Communist Party Central Committee will restrict what activities senior officials’ relatives can take part in, such as running their own business. The rules will be stricter for more senior positions following a string of cases where family members have been used as intermediaries for corrupt practices.

BEIJING

The Chinese Communist Party has introduced new restrictions on the business activities of senior officials’ families as part of the ongoing anti-corruption drive.

The guidelines from the general office of the party’s Central Committee vary according to sector and the officials’ rank, according to state news agency Xinhua.

“The more senior the officials are, the stricter the rules are, and those for comprehensive departments [which oversee multiple areas of industry or government] are stricter than those for other departments,” the report said.

The full text has not been published, but the report said that in some cases the children and spouses of officials would be banned from activities such as starting their own business or investing in private equity.

The document said the rules were designed to ensure that senior cadres did not use their positions to gain improper benefits – a key element of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive.

Many corruption cases investigated in recent years involve officials protecting their families to run businesses and transfer wealth, according to the Central Committee’s organisation department.

There have also been many cases where the families of senior officials have played a key as intermediaries in accepting bribes and gifts.

On Friday, Xi told a Politburo meeting that his anti-corruption drive had won “an overwhelming victory” but warned them not to let their guard down because “the situation remains critical and complex”.

He said that the anti-corruption drive was key for the party winning the hearts and minds of the Chinese public, and was therefore key to its staying in power.

He also said the mechanism for managing officials needed to be improved.

The new regulations state that officials must declare their family members’ business activities annually and random and routine inspections will be carried out to verify the information provided.

If those activities to conflict with the regulations, either the official will have to leave their position – and possibly face disciplinary action – or their relative will have to withdraw from the enterprise.

Those who fail to report truthfully or use their positions to benefit family members will face punishment.

Cadres who are in line for promotion will also have to ensure that they will not violate the regulation or risk losing their new post.

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