06/06/2012, 00.00
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Beijing acknowledges "almost 40,000 corrupt Communist officials"

A Communist weekly releases data about the (failed) fight against corruption. In 12 years, 18,400 officials who stole 54 billion yuan have been arrested. At least another 20,000 fled abroad with a trillion yuan. Anti-corruption guru says people are "increasingly angry with us".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Some 18,400 officials in mainland China have been arrested over the past 12 years after attempting to flee the country because of alleged involvement in corruption, the China Economic Weekly said.

In five of those 12 years, the value of unlawful gains seized by the country's Supreme People's Procuratorate was 54.19 billion yuan (US$ 8.5 billion).

The largest amount of money involved in a single case was 483 million yuan, the paper said. Yu Zhendong, former chief of Bank of China's Guangdong branch, and two accomplices attempted to spirit away the money overseas before their alleged escape to the United States.

Of the total number of individuals who fled the country with unlawfully-obtained funds during the 12-year period, 87.5 percent were employees in the country's finance system or state-run businesses.

Chinese scholars estimate that up to 20,000 Chinese officials who fled the country with a total of more than 1 trillion yuan stayed abroad. 

The central government is well aware of the problem and has tried various means to eliminate it.

Disgraced former politburo member and Communist secretary in Chongqing Bo Xilai tried a neo-Maoist campaign against crooks and Mafiosi, but ended up breaking the law himself.

For the Communist Party's top graft-fighter He Guoqiang, nearly 90 per cent of corruption cases on the mainland in the past five years involved grass-roots officials.

He also warned of strong public resentment over corrupt senior management of state-owned companies.

Between November 2007 and February this year, with 540,000 officials were arrested and punished for corruption.

Of all the corruption problems, ten stand out, He said, including land disputes, resources development, arbitrary education charges, medical disputes, drug and food safety problems, and collusion with triads that had damaged the party's image and authority.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao are well aware that corruption is undermining the party's monopoly of power. For this reason, several campaigns have been launched in the past few years to re-educate corrupt officials.

However, the large-scale unrest caused by corruption of party officials shows that the crackdown has not worked.

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