More than 182,000 officials punished in China crackdown on corruption

AFP-JIJI

China’s ruling Communist Party punished more than 182,000 officials last year in its high-profile anti-corruption campaign, authorities said Friday.

Anti-graft authorities across the country last year received more than 1.95 million allegations of corruption and agreed to investigate 172,532 cases, Huang Shuxian, a deputy head of the ruling party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said at a briefing.

Huang said that as a result, a total of 182,038 officials were given disciplinary punishment, which can range from a mere warning to expulsion from the party — or worse.

“Disciplinary authorities at all levels . . . upheld imposing punishment upon all the corrupt,” he said.

Communist Party leader and President Xi Jinping has taken a much-publicized hard line against graft since coming to power a little over one year ago, warning that corruption could destroy the party.

Graft causes widespread public anger and Xi has pledged to stamp down on high-ranking officials, or “tigers,” along with low-level “flies” to maintain the purity of the party.

At the same time he has mounted an austerity drive, with a range of measures, including limits on banquets and bans on gift-giving.

So far at least 19 officials at vice ministerial level or above have fallen since November last year, including Jiang Jiemin, head of China’s state-owned assets watchdog, and Li Dongsheng, formerly a vice minister of public security.

But critics say no systemic measures have been brought in to curb endemic graft.