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

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora