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CHINA! 500 Lawmakers Resign Amid Corruption Scandal

Posted: December 29th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: China | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on CHINA! 500 Lawmakers Resign Amid Corruption Scandal

CHINA! 500 Lawmakers Resign Amid Corruption ScandalMore than 500 lawmakers in a Chinese city have resigned after being implicated in a bribery scandal, while another 56 provincial legislators have been sacked as the government steps up its war on graft.

The official Xinhua news agency said the 512 lawmakers in Hengyang city in the poor, landlocked southern province of Hunan resigned after they took bribes from 56 members of the provincial assembly.

The total amount of the bribes was more than 110 million yuan ($20 million) and the money was used to swing the results of elections, Xinhua said, citing a Hunan government statement.

China does not have fully democratic one-man, one-vote elections but has experimented with a selection process at the grassroots for local legislatures, even if most candidates are Communist Party members and there is rarely more than a single candidate for each position available ::::

CHINA! 500 Lawmakers Resign Amid Corruption Scandal

“The number of people involved in the Hengyang election case are many, the amount of money large, the substance serious, the effect pernicious; this is a serious challenge to our People’s Congresses system,” Xinhua said.

“It must be seriously dealt with in accordance with the law.”

Provinces, cities, counties and other administrative districts all have their own People’s Congresses, and they all generally act as a rubber stamp for party decisions rather than providing a forum for debate or making policies.

The competition, though limited, to become lawmakers in some places has opened the door to corruption, as membership of such bodies brings opportunities to influence decisions about things such as business contracts and promotions.

Xinhua said that those found to have broken the law in this bribery scandal would be handed over to judicial authorities for prosecution.

President Xi Jinping has launched a sweeping crackdown on corruption since taking power, pursuing high-flying “tigers” as well as lowly “flies”, warning the problem is so severe it could threaten the party’s survival.

Still, the party has shown no sign of wanting to set up an independent body outside party control to fight corruption, which many experts say is the only way China can really deal with it.

Indeed, the party has gone after activists who have pressed for officials to publicly reveal their wealth. One of the most prominent of these, Xu Zhiyong, is expect to go on trial soon.

Chinese police arrest rights activist Xu Zhiyong

China Arrests Activist Xu Zhiyong

August 2013: Chinese police have arrested one of the country’s most prominent rights activists, raising the stakes in the government’s crackdown on anti-graft campaigners. Xu Zhiyong had been under house arrest since Apr 12, 2013, and he was detained on Jul 16, 2013, then formally arrested on August 22.

Xu Zhiyong, the founder of the “New Citizens’ Movement”, has called for officials to disclose their wealth in an online campaign and pushed for greater civil rights.

Fellow activists have gone into the streets to urge citizens to combat corruption.

Beijing police arrested Mr Xu on a charge of “gathering crowd to disturb order in a public place”, one of Mr Xu’s lawyers, Zhang Qingfang said.

Mr Xu was detained last month on the same charge.

Prior to that, he had been under house arrest for three months with no reason given by the authorities.

China has detained at least 16 activists involved in pushing for asset disclosure by officials, in what rights groups say is a new, coordinated crackdown by the ruling Communist Party.

Mr Xu’s arrest coincided with the opening of the trial of former senior leader Bo Xilai on corruption charges.

In China, a formal arrest usually leads to a trial.

However, Mr Zhang said he was relatively confident that Mr Xu could be released before the case comes to trial.

“I’m convincing Xu Zhiyong to express his views on social issues more rationally, in a more moderate way,” Mr Zhang said.

“Xu has accepted this point.”

Mr Zhang said the lawyers were also trying to persuade authorities that litigating the case “is not necessarily the best way”.

Early August, Mr Xu, wearing handcuffs and an orange vest, urged the Chinese people to fight for their rights in a rare video-taped message from a detention centre.

“Somebody has to pay for the society’s progress, I am willing to bear all the costs for freedom, justice, love and faith,” Mr Xu said in his video.

Jiang Jiemin

China Sacked Top Economic Official

September 2013: China has sacked top economic official Jiang Jiemin as head of the body overseeing the country’s state-owned companies. Xinhua news agency has reported the official was removed for “suspected serious disciplinary violations”, a phrase commonly used in China to refer to corruption.

The move comes as the country’s leaders step up an anti-corruption campaign. Jiang has been removed from office as head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the State Council, Xinhua reported.

The inquiry into Jiang was announced on Sunday and reports said it would be focusing on China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the state-owned oil and gas company giant.

Jiang headed CNPC before being promoted to the SASAC post earlier this year. China’s president Xi Jinping – who took office in March – has warned corruption could destroy the party and has threatened to expose high-ranking officials, or “tigers”, along with low-level “flies”.

Jiang is the first member of the Communist Party’s current 205-person Central Committee to face investigation, state media said. Another former top CNPC official, Zhou Yongkang, will also face a corruption inquiry, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported last week.

Zhou went on to become China’s security chief and a member of its highest body, the Politburo Standing Committee, after his CNPC post.

Xi Jinping

China Investigating 37,000 Officials For Corruption

UPDATE! January 5, 2014: State media says China investigated almost 37,000 officials suspected of corruption in more than 27,000 cases between January and November. Of the 27,236 cases, 12,824 resulted in “losses for the people” involving a total of 5.51 billion yuan ($AU0.9 billion), Xinhua news agency said without elaborating.

It cited a statement from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, China’s top prosecuting body, which could not be reached for comment Sunday. China’s top prosecutor Cao Jianming told the National People’s Congress parliament in October that 200,000 people had been probed for embezzlement or bribery between January 2008 and last August.

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

He has threatened 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.

@m_a_silverman

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More News from China: sociallyengineered.com.au/china-news/

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