China Punishes 20,000 Officials for Waste, Corruption

Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013 07:03 AM

By Michael Mullins

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China has punished 20,000 officials of the nation's Communist Party over the past year in an attempt to appease its citizens who have grown increasingly angry over government waste and corruption.

The punishments came under the direction of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who announced last year that he would pursue policies that reduced government bureaucracy and minimized the pomp and ceremony often associated with the Communist Party, Reuters reported.

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Russia's RT news network reported that of the 20,000 officials China is punishing, 300 held county-level government or Party committees posts, citing a report by China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI),  the party's anti-corruption watchdog group. The vast majority of those targeted in the crackdown, however, occupied village-level positions.

"A clean leadership in rural areas is crucial to a harmonious society, as China is a country with large agricultural lands and a rural population of 900 million," the CCDI document statement, noted.

Most officials who were found to be in breach of the Party's rules received administrative or internal party punishments, Reuters reported. No further details were provided by the CCDI.

Among the violations cited, 5,000 officials reportedly misused their state-provided cars, while another 900-plus organized overly elaborate celebratory events. In addition to being punished for the apparent excess, other Chinese government officials were condemned for their "mediocrity" and "indolence," according to the CCDI.

Accompanying the crackdown, the Chinese president also set forth new policies that reportedly shortened over-the-top ceremonies and abandoned the meaningless speeches that apparently accompanied them, Reuters reported.

Shortly after the campaign launched last year, Xi warned that the endemic corruption was a threat to the Party's survival, while assuring the public that he would use his office to go after high-flying "tigers" as well as lowly "flies."

Though most of the punishments were administrative and generally targeted low-ranking officials, some of the high-profile punishments included the removal of Liu Tienan, the former deputy head of China's top planning agency, and Guo Youming, the vice governor of the central province of Hubei. Both men were removed over corruption allegations.

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