New anti-corruption measures taking effect at local level

13:37, March 02, 2010 

For this year's Lunar New Year holiday, police officers in a county of central China's Henan Province were especially cautious when partying with mining and entertainment bosses.

Their wariness was caused by the county police department's release earlier this year of rules forbidding police officers -- especially those in powerful positions -- from developing "overly close relations" with company heads, participating in mining management or providing illegal protection.

Officials who violated the rules would be removed from their posts or transferred out of the police department. Severe offenders would receive further punishment in accordance with the law.

"One officer has already been removed from his post for breaking the rules," said officer Chen Mingzhou in the police department of Mianchi, a county with rich mining sources.

"We discovered that some officers used their powers to participate in mining and entertainment management businesses and provided illegal protection for those businesses," said Chen. "Some officers only did their 'duty' once given benefits. And when 'tipped,' they used their power at will."

According to a survey conducted by People's Daily Online last month ahead of the country's upcoming annual legislative session, anti-corruption came top of "the most important issues" for this year.

The results showed that 70 percent of some 200,000 netizens who took part in the survey considered corruption among cadres at county level "most serious."

Huang Zongliang, a Peking University politics professor, said, "grassroots corruption is not necessarily 'most serious,' but people are very aware of it. Rampant corruption at the lower level directly weakens people's confidence in government."

Many local governments were trying to implement new anti-corruption measures in a positive way, he said.