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Anti-corruption survey results questioned

By Zhao Qian (Global Times)

08:23, May 16, 2012

More than 4.2 million government officials have been punished for discipline violations over the past 30 years, while nearly three-quarters of Chinese people are satisfied with the country's anti-graft efforts, according to the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention (NBCP).

The figures drew mixed responses from the public, with analysts calling for further improvement in anti-corruption efforts and greater transparency in disclosing relevant information.

Between 1982 and 2011, 465 provincial- and ministerial-level officials were disciplined, among whom 90 were charged with fraud, the NBCP said in a statement on its website on Monday, citing a speech by Cui Hairong, deputy head of the bureau.

Between 2003 and 2011, more than 42,000 members of the Communist Party of China and officials faced judicial organs on corruption charges, including former Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu, Cui said at the 5th Independent Commission Against Corruption Symposium in Hong Kong.

Anti-corruption organs nationwide were notified of 1.35 million cases via an online reporting system in 2011. About 137,000 of these cases are being investigated, Cui noted.

Citing an opinion poll in 2011, Cui said 72.7 percent of Chinese people were satisfied with progress made in anti-corruption work. In 2010, 83.8 percent of the public agreed that corruption had been reduced to some extent.

Cui neither revealed when the poll was conducted nor how data was collected.

Analysts acknowledged progress has been made in the country's fight against corruption, but added an opinion poll highlighting grievances would be more helpful than a survey reflecting satisfaction.

"Different areas are at different levels of social and economic development. Their requirements for anti-corruption efforts are likewise different. Simply disclosing national average data is meaningless," Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times.

"In this case, a poll of people's complaints about anti-corruption efforts could offer greater guidance to the government in improving its work in this field," Zhu added.

In 2010, the Information Office of the State Council issued the country's first anti-corruption white paper, which cited data from the National Bureau of Statistics showing that 70.6 percent of the public were satisfied with the government's anti-corruption efforts, up from 51.9 percent in 2003.

Zhu noted that the entire survey process, including methods of data collection, should be made public to ensure transparency.

Mao Shoulong, a professor with the School of Public Administration at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that authorities have taken various measures to curb corruption including pushing for officials to disclose their assets, but pointed out there is still a long way to go.

"Legislation on the disclosure of officials' assets is urgently needed to enforce zero tolerance of illegal sources of income," Mao said.

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