News / Asia

China Expands Anti-Corruption Drive

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting officials who have family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate in China, on exactly how many corrupt officials take that route, and how likely it is they will be caught.

The story of a local official in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, who resigned after reports said her husband had emigrated to the United States, highlights the challenges and confusion surrounding the so-called “naked officials” in China.

The term refers to Communist cadres who stay in China but send their spouses or children to live abroad, opening up a channel to potentially hide the fruits of corruption from Chinese supervision.

Liu Yan, the Shenzhen official, admitted her husband had taken up residency in the United States in the 1980s, which - according to Chinese media - is in itself evidence of her being a “naked official.”

“I am just a normal wife and mother,” Liu told Chinese media in her defense.

Zhu Jiangnan, assistant professor of politics at the University of Hong Kong, says it is very hard for the government in China to tell its employees not to send family members abroad - a very common occurrence in China for people who can afford it.

“The problem is how do their family members support their lives overseas? Do they have their own regular job and are financially independent form officials working in China? But if a lot of their financial support comes from the official who still remains in China, this will naturally put a lot of doubt on where they get this large amount of money,” said Zhu Jiangnan.

Economic fugitives

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Public Security announced there are more than 150 economic fugitives in the United States alone, and that many of them are officials suspected of graft in China.

Analysts believe the number of officials caught or suspected of being “naked” is a small fraction of the real phenomenon, which remains hard to quantify - even for the government itself.

“The government requires all officials to report the residential status of their family members to tell if their family members are staying in China, or actually migrated to other countries. However a lot of officials have not reported this information honestly, and it is really hard to verify if the information is true,” said Zhu Jiangnan.

But in recent months, after the Communist Party passed new guidelines urging those with family overseas to bring them back or resign, the focus has shifted onto local administrations.

Cracking down

Chinese media reported that by the end of July, all local governments had completed an internal survey on where officials and their immediate families lived.

Apart from a few localities who said no naked officials were in their midst, most regions failed to reveal their findings to the public.

The only province that actually reported problems was Guangdong, where the survey found 2,190 “naked officials,” 866 of them already removed from their post.

Anti-corruption professor King Twun Tsao at the Chinese University of Hong Kong says the southern province has been on the forefront of reform for decades.

“It signifies and tells the rest of China or the central government that Guangdong is going to do whatever it is necessary to do, that might be a kind of political loyalty to the center by a local leader,” he said.

Zhu Jiangnan says that more important than the total number, is the ranking of naked officials.

“Even though the total number is not large, is relatively small but if it's mainly the high level officials who are involved in this issue, I think it damages the image of the party and it is a more serious problem,” she said.

Lack of transparency

The lid kept on the survey has caused much speculation about the severity of the problem, but it has also renewed a debate about how little the public in China knows about the wealth and assets of officials.

After years of debate, China has yet to draft a nationwide law to require officials disclose their assets.

The leadership has signaled its unwillingness to negotiating the problem with the public by jailing a number of activists who had called for officials to disclose their assets.

But if President Xi Jinping is serious about catching “naked officials,” analysts believe more transparency and monitoring of public wealth will be a necessary part of the solution.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Frankie Fook-lun from: Los Angeles
August 15, 2014 7:36 PM
China should ask why do many countries allow their high-ranking officials to marry foreigners and not China. Having a spouse holding a foreign passport does not mean that official intends to elope that country and he or she is by definition a naked or corrupt official. Corruption is a specific crime to be proven and not being a naked official whatever that term means. Susan Rice who is the national security advisor married a Canadian. Is she a naked official?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid