10/30/2009, 00.00
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Communist Party launches anti-corruption website

Anyone with abuses of power or “decadent lifestyles” to report can click on www.12388.gov.cn. The central government wants to stop corruption, which according to some estimates represents up to 5 per cent of the GDP. Back in June, another website set up to allow people to inform on wrongdoers within the administration crashed soon after its launch, overwhelmed by the number of hits.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – In its latest effort to rein in seemingly out-of-control graft, the Communist Party of China has launched a website to get the public to expose party and government corruption. By some accounts, the problem is estimated to be worth up to US$ 220 billion or 5 per cent of the GDP. In June, the Supreme People's Procuratorate also opened its own website to get the public to inform on abuses, but it crashed in just ten hours because of the number of people trying to report wrongdoers.  The decision to use Internet to report abuses of power was taken by the Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the Ministry of Supervision.

Anyone who has something to report to the authorities can go to www.12388.gov.cn, where they can report kickbacks and embezzlements as well as immoral or decadent behaviour by party members.

The last point was included to avoid another “Shanghai”, that is the scandal that brought down Chen Liangyu, that city’s party secretary, who was removed from office for embezzling almost US$ 50 from the city’s pension plan following an investigation sparked by a citizens’ petition.

Not only did the Supreme People's Procuratorate to create its own website because of the scandal, but the Supreme People's Court did likewise, inviting the public to keep an eye on political leaders. It too crashed in just a few hours because of the volume of traffic.

Corruption represents somewhere between 3 and 5 per cent of China’s GDP. In 2004, the costs ranged between 409 and 683 billion yuan (US$ 60 and100 billion), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a report.

"There were big increases in corruption from 1987-1992 which was linked to the transition process of the economy," said Janos Bertok, co-author of the report. “As China's economy grows the opportunities for corruption also grow."

In the first half of 2003 alone more than 8,300 officials fled the country and another 6,500 disappeared within China to escape prosecution for corruption and embezzlement.

“Roughly two-thirds of the fugitives were senior executives of state-owned enterprises [and] between US$ 8.75 billion and US$ 50 billion were supposedly brought out of the country in recent years," the report said.

The Chinese government De facto confirmed the figures, which are growing according to official sources.

In the past, the government had urged people to travel to Beijing to submit their petitions to the central authorities.

Local authorities have always been hostile the practice, and the central government joined them last year as the Beijing Olympic approached practice.

Claiming that 2,000,000 people coming to the capital to seek justice represented a public order danger, it told them to stay home.

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