Employees of a grain company dry corn at a facility in Heihe, Heilongjiang province. （Photo/Xinhua）
Efforts to uproot corruption in the grain industry should be continuously strengthened so as to better serve and safeguard the country's food safety, China's top anti-graft agency said.
Taking food safety as a must for the economy and livelihoods, the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China and the National Commission of Supervision recently issued a guideline, calling for heavier punishments for corrupt officials in this regard.
"A zero-tolerance attitude and high pressure on grain-related corruption must be maintained," the commissions said in a statement on Monday, clarifying that they will focus on disorder in grain purchases, reserves and sales.
They pledged to strictly combat behaviors of replacing new grain with the old as well as other malpractices, formalism and bureaucracy in the food field, adding that regular supervision and accountability also need to be intensified.
Earlier, the commissions revealed 10 influential cases in which former officials violated disciplines and laws while serving in grain-related work positions.
In one case, for example, Xu Baoyi, former deputy general manager of the China Grain Reserves Group, or Sinograin, was charged with accepting bribes of more than 13 million yuan ($1.91 million), dereliction of duty and insider trading by prosecutors in Shanxi province in October.
His case has been filed with the Datong Intermediate People's Court in the province.
Of the disclosed cases, the largest amount of alleged bribery — over 29 million yuan — was accepted by Hu Dongsheng, former head of the Heilongjiang Provincial Grain Administration.
In July, Hu stood trial at the Jixi Intermediate People's Court in the province.
Ren Jianming, director of the center for integrity research and education at Beihang University, said that disclosing such cases is not only to conclude anti-corruption achievements in the grain field, "but also to give a warning to officials engaged in the industry to ensure they don't dare to, are unable to and have no desire to commit corruption".
He highlighted the significance of supervision, adding that it is essential to prevent corruption by promoting self-reform and increased oversight on officials, especially top ones, in the grain sector.
Xu Hao, a lawyer from Beijing Jingsh Law Firm, said that he is glad to see the country attach greater importance to uprooting corruption involving grain in recent years, "because food safety relates greatly to people's livelihoods and national security".
He pointed out that grain purchases are key to guaranteeing food safety, suggesting the disciplinary and supervisory departments at all levels keep monitoring local grain administrations and large-scale grain companies.
"Administrations and enterprises should build their own systems or make their own rules to improve self-monitoring to avoid corruption," he added.