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Put power in cage

(China Daily)

09:42, January 23, 2013

How the anti-graft campaign will be intensified and whether it will prevent the rampant abuse of power by officials, and thereafter usher the country into a new era for sustainable development, are the people's major concerns when it comes to their expectations of the Party's new leadership.

Party chief Xi Jinping emphasized that constraint and supervision over the exercise of power must be intensified to place power in a cage. He made the remarks on Tuesday at the second plenary session of the Party's discipline watchdog. He said that a mechanism would be established to deter and prevent officials from abusing their power.

This is absolutely right and is the direction the fight against corruption should follow.

The increasing number of problematic officials that have been exposed on the Internet and the high accuracy in targeting the right ones, as shown by the investigations that followed, have stoked people's expectations of what the top authorities will come up with to further the fight.

Effective as the Internet is as a means of identifying corrupt elements, the hide and seek game will put an increasing number of corrupt officials on high alert. It cannot be relied on as a permanent mechanism to prevent and fight abuses of power.

South China's Guangdong province has launched a program for government officials to report and disclose their property on a trial basis. The program, being piloted in two urban districts and a county, is expected to be extended to the rest of province starting 2014.

Obviously, the disclosure of officials' properties is part of the mechanism that Xi mentioned in his speech to the meeting of the Party's watchdog.

But more needs to be done to keep power on the straight and narrow. It is more than a decade since the disclosure of officials' properties, those in leading positions in particular, was first put forward as an effective means to prevent officials from seeking illegal gains.

How long will it take for all officials to disclose their properties to the public? Will the power of officials be effectively checked?

In what Xi says, we see the determination of the new Party leadership, which gives us the hope that a breakthrough will be made and the disclosure of officials' properties and the effective supervision over the power in their hands is not far away.


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