The economy in Liaoning province is growing again this year after a crackdown on political corruption－including electoral bribery－which has improved the business climate, according to high-ranking officials.[Special coverage]
After a year of decline, the GDP of Liaoning grew by 3 percent from January to September, said Li Xi, Liaoning's Party secretary and a delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, during a panel discussion on Thursday. Fiscal revenue increased by 8.3 percent in the period, he said.
Last year, the province made headlines around the country as its economy declined by 2.6 percent year-on-year. It was also criticized for electoral fraud in connection with a leadership change in the Standing Committee of Liaoning Committee of the CPC in 2011 and the election of deputies to the National People's Congress in 2013.
In September last year, the Standing Committee of the NPC nullified the elections of 45 NPC deputies from the province. In March, 41 of them received prison sentences for election fraud, embezzlement and bribery. Wang Min, the former Party secretary, was sentenced to life in prison in August for taking bribes and neglecting his duty.
"Liaoning's economic downward pressure fundamentally stemmed from a damaged political ecosystem," Li said. "Now Party members are carrying out their responsibilities under stricter Party governance. Meanwhile, we have to create a better business environment. Local governments must improve their efficiency and serve enterprises. There have been positive results for the economy."
Li said Wang abandoned the strict oversight requirements laid down by the CPC Central Committee, as Liaoning officials paid for promotions. The relationships between government officials and businesspeople were in disarray, and businesses could get projects approved only by bribing officials, he said.
A crackdown by the Central Committed "saved the province", Li said. "The public and government officials learned lessons from it and the political ecosystem has been purified."
Meanwhile, local governments have been improving the business environment in other ways. The province has established a management bureau to strengthen supervision in this field.
Yi Lianhong, Party secretary of Shenyang, the provincial capital, said the city has chalked up 104,700 newly registered market entities since the beginning of the year, an increase of 54.9 percent over the same period last year.
Chen Qiufa, Liaoning's governor, cited reforms that have stabilized the economy. Six sets of reforms have been made to diversify equities, strengthen supply-side structural reform and push forward the reform of State-owned enterprises, he said.
Because of such steps, the province is on track to meet this year's growth target, Chen said.