Prosecutors in southwest China say they have received more reports of corruption in the last three weeks than they received for the whole of last year -- thanks to text messages offering hefty rewards for tip-offs.
The procuratorate in Beibei district, Chongqing Municipality, sent text messages to 370,000 mobile phone users offering rewards from 3,000 yuan (440 U.S. dollars) to 500,000 yuan for informationleading to convictions of corrupt officials.
The procuratorate also opened a tip-off hotline, according to one of the messages.
Since the text messages were sent on June 25, prosecutors had received more than 40 reports of corruption, as compared with the annual average of 30 to 40, said Wang Xiaoxiong, an official of the procuratorate.
He said the text messages had substantially raised public awareness of the fight against corruption and the hotline had beenvery busy.
"Many people did not know how to report corrupt activities, while some chose to keep silent. Now the messages give them a tip-off hotline and the offer of rewards to stimulate their enthusiasm," Wang said.
Another procuratorate official surnamed Yang said they used text messages to reach a broad range of people directly.
The procuratorate raised its maximum reward for informants from 50,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan last month to encourage public participation in fighting corruption.
It was currently investigating two cases reported by people whoreceived the mobile phone messages, according to Wang.
China has strengthened its anti-corruption fight in recent years, with the downfall of former Shanghai Communist Party Chief Chen Liangyu and other senior officials.
The government also established the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention to intensify the fight and conduct additional international exchanges in the field.