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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.