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Setting the right example

(China Daily)

13:43, July 31, 2013

BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhuanet) -- On Monday, the Communist Party of China's disciplinary watchdog published eight cases involving officials who had indulged in extravagant banquets, accepted cash gifts or paid for entertainment with public funds. The message is clear that the Party's new leaders meant it when they outlined eight measures in December aimed at eradicating the ostentatious working styles of officials.

This is the second time the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has made public such cases; the fist time was in March. All the officials involved were given disciplinary punishments and the public funds were retrieved.

It is not rare for top leaders to stress the importance of Party members and officials setting good examples and creating a desirable public image. However, the new leadership has shown even more resolve to end the trend of extravagance and pretentiousness among officials, which threatens to tarnish the image of the Party and estrange it from the general public.

The eight measures, which prohibit officials from having a big convoy on their inspection tours, attending unnecessary meetings or ceremonies, and requires them to lead a simple life, do seem to have produced some positive results. There have been reports, that a number of expensive restaurants have registered much lower profits in recent months because of a decline in the number of banquets paid for with public funds.

It goes without saying that the new Party leadership knows well how dangerous it will be if the epidemic of abusing public money is allowed to spread further through its ranks.

Undoubtedly the disciplinary watchdog's achievements in nabbing corrupt officials and tightening control over the conduct of its members in recent months have been generally appreciated by the public. The majority of people hope that the good disciplinary and anti-corruption momentum will continue.

It may not be that hard to keep officials from pursuing an undesirable working style or even abusing their power in the short term with such campaigns. But it will take a regular supervisory system to deter such officials from abusing their position or misusing taxpayers' money in the long run.

Xi Jinping, the CPC general secretary, said that power should be kept within the cage of systems. Hopefully, enforcing the eight measures will lay the foundation for the making of such a cage.

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