News / Asia

    China Begins Efforts to Lift Veil on Officials’ Assets

    Chinese City Begins Slowly Unveiling Officials’ Assetsi
    X
    March 04, 2013 4:35 PM
    As China’s Communist Party leaders step up anti-corruption efforts, a rapidly developing district in the southern mega-city Guangzhou is leading the way. Officials in one part of the capital city of Guangdong province will soon have to disclose a wide range of financial details such as their salary, how many cars and houses they own and where and when they travel overseas. VOA’s William Ide reports how the plan is emboldening some to call for more transparency from China’s top leaders.
    As China’s Communist Party leaders step up their efforts to fight corruption, a rapidly developing district in the southern mega-city Guangzhou is one of the areas that has been chosen to lead the way.
     
    Later this month, officials Nansha New District will be required to disclose a wide range of financial details such as their salary, how many cars and houses they own and where and when they travel overseas.
     
    The pilot program is not the first, but its scope is broad and will target high-ranking officials, says Ni Xing a professor at Sun Yat-sen University’s School of Governance.
     
    “Assets include things such as your salary, savings and investments, but aside from this there are some other important things to disclose,” he said. “Nansha’s policy will include things such as marital status, where you travel, what your wife and children do for a living and what stocks they own and trade.”

    Corruption Hurts Competition
     
    Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdon Province, has long been one of China’s biggest economic zones and manufacturing centers, but in recent years it has been facing increased competition from other cities such as Suzhou and Tianjin.
     
    Ni Xing says asset disclosure is not only about cracking down on corruption and preventing graft.
     
    “I believe that one of the reasons why this is taking place during the leadership reshuffle is because clean governance is a key way of raising an area’s economic competition,” Ni said.  
     
    Of the three areas named in Guangdong’s pilot program for assets disclosure, two are special economic zones: Nansha New District and Zhuhai’s Hengqin.
     
    Nansha covers some 800-some-square kilometers and was named a special economic zone last year just around the time that China was gearing for the once in a decade reshuffle.

    Transparency Popular
     
    Chinese officials say their fight against corruption is a life or death struggle and the push to have officials disclose their assets is being welcomed by many.
     
    In conversations on the street in Guangzhou, support for the policy was evident.
     
    "The power that officials have is frightening, they need to disclose their assets," said one man, Wang, who only wished to give his surname.
     
    A young woman surnamed Wang who works in the clothing industry said she supports the policy because it would give the public more transparency.
     
    He Di, a high school student in Guangzhou said that now was the time for China to take action to fight corruption.  "I think China is ready for this kind of a policy and should devote itself to this effort," He Di said.
     
    A recent public opinion poll carried out by the Canton Public Opinion Research Center, reported that a majority respondents were unhappy about corruption and the accumulation of wealth by officials, moral corruption and the use of public funds for exorbitant personal expenses. The poll said access to prestigious schools and better medical treatment were areas where the problem was most visible.

    Take it to the Top
     
    Although the Nansha pilot program is widely supported, for some it does not reach high enough.
     
    Sun Hanhui is part of a grassroots movement in China that wants the top 205 central government officials to make their assets public.
     
    On Monday, after weeks of traveling around the country, Sun and several others sent a petition to the man who will soon be China’s next president, Xi Jinping.
     
    The letter included the signatures of 7,033 people from all walks of life - farmers, workers, lawyers, and civil servants - and called on the government’s top officials to disclose their own assets and those of their family members as well.
     
    The group is urging officials to make the disclosure during the annual National People’s Congress, which begins Tuesday.
     
    “Assets disclosure is a systematic approach that seeks to stem the problem of corruption,” Sun said. “It’s an international model that started more than 200 years ago in Sweden.  It has been used in England and the United States, but for the model to be meaningful it needs to start from the top.”

    How far China’s leaders are prepared to take the pilot program remains unclear. Guangzhou’s City Mayor has come forward and said that he is willing to disclose his assets, as have other officials in the south.
     
    However, some officials argue that to require them to reveal their salary, assets and investments would be an invasion of their privacy.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora