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Anti-graft watchdog vows to net more 'flies'

2015-01-21 09:00 China Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

Officials at city level to come under scrutiny in 2015

President Xi Jinping told Party committees at all levels on Tuesday to support judicial departments to independently exercise judicial rights, coordinate with them and create a favorable environment for the departments to carry out their duties.

Xi told officials at legal affairs departments to strengthen Party discipline and prevent judicial corruption to safeguard social stability and promote social equality and justice.

On Monday, the country's top anti-graft watchdog said it would intensify anti-corruption efforts to net more "flies", lower-level government officials, after bringing down nearly 70 powerful "tigers" in Chinese officialdom since 2012.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said that it will target officials at city level this year. The successful efforts to clean up government at provincial level have created a favorable environment for rooting out corruption at lower levels, the commission said.

The commission also urged a deepening of the reform on the Party's disciplinary mechanism, signaling bolder moves in the crackdown on corruption this year.

"The key of the reform is to put emphasis on the non-delegatable obligation of Party chiefs at various levels in cracking down on corruption and undesirable working practices," the commission said in a statement, noting that the anti-graft work will be in vain if Party chiefs are reluctant to make sincere steps to fight the malady of corruption.

The commission requires government at each level to clean itself up first and supervise the anti-graft efforts at lower levels, stressing that only by cleaning up government at city level can Party chiefs at county level earnestly perform their duties.

The past year has seen a major breakthrough of the nationwide anti-corruption campaign with the biggest "tiger" being netted in more than 30 years.

Ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang is the highest-ranking official to become ensnared in the national campaign against corruption and has been transferred to prosecuting authorities along with 29 other former top officials, the CCDI announced last week, saying their trials will be held soon.

Zhou was arrested in December, expelled from the Party and placed under a judicial investigation regarding a series of allegations, including taking bribes and "leaking state secrets".

Meanwhile, judicial authorities have secured the return of more than 500 economic fugitives, including many alleged corrupt officials, from abroad.

A major cleanup of the armed forces has brought down 16 senior officers in the military for illegal conduct, including Xu Caihou, the former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission.

The CCDI stressed the importance of improving the anti-graft mechanism and called for further steps to legitimize the dual leadership structure of anti-graft departments at different levels.

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