05/25/2009, 00.00
CHINA
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China’s Communist Party increasingly powerless to tackle corruption

Corruption spreads at every level despite great efforts trying to rein it in. officials in 13 cities steal 120 billion yuan earmarked for sea clean up. Criticism is growing in the population.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A growing number of Communist Party officials at different levels are involved in corruption scandals despite attempts by the central leadership to crackdown on the problem. For this reason the Central Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party has recently adopted a new, more stringent accountability policy for officials. Tighter controls will apply to the officials’ work but also their sense of responsibility and collective interests.

Scandals however are breaking out in large numbers, proof that corruption has become an endemic problem. The latest case involves a low-level official in Badong, Hubei, who was killed by a pedicurist, 21, after he allegedly tried to force her to provide "special services", a euphemism for sex.

Internet has become a venue where many average Chinese are venting their frustration at the state of affairs, expressing views in support of a crackdown on official corruption and immorality.

Sometimes embezzlement cases can reach gigantic proportions before they are revealed.

Last Friday the National Audit Office reported that the State Oceanic Administration and 13 city administrations had stolen 120 billion yuan (US$ 17 billion) which had been set aside to clean up the Bohai Gulf.

As a result of the massive theft only half of the planned 230 water treatment plants were actually built and many substandard.

Despite all this State Oceanic Administration officials in Beijing have continued to approve large coastal construction projects that have a huge impact on the marine environment.

In some provinces probes have shown that corruption is not an isolated problem involving a few rogue officials, but goes to the heart of the system of power.

In Shanghai last year, scandal swept the Communist Party to its core, causing the fall of local party chief Chen Liangyu (pictured) who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for bribery and abuse of power in relation to embezzled pension funds.

Dozens of party officials of all levels were also sacked or tried for their role in the scandal.

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