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19 Jul, 2014

China’s anti-corruption war: You can run but you cannot hide

BEIJING, July 18, (Xinhua) — One disgraced ex-military chief; one fazed vice chairman of China’s top political advisory body; a handful of crushed vice governors; and close to 30 felled ministerial-level officials.

The anti-corruption crusade of China’s current leadership since late 2012 has exposed a long, infamous list of fraudulent high-ranking officials, or “tigers” as they are called.

During the past 18 months, the disciplinary arm of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has been flexing its muscle, and now the Party has managed to showcase its courage and resolve to rid the country of plaguing corruption.

Even on some unconventional battlegrounds, the fight is also gaining momentum. Seldom had retired officials been targeted in China’s anti-corruption drive before the CPC’s 18th National Congress in 2012. Nor were crooked graft busters themselves often exposed, even though authorities had vowed repeatedly to leave no blind zones.

These had falsely led some to come to the conclusions that retired officials, disciplinary inspectors, and political heavyweights could be “off limits” in the anti-corruption drive.

The campaign, launched by the new leadership after the 18th CPC National Congress, has challenged all that.

Earlier this month, the crackdown claimed its most senior catch to date as retired general Xu Caihou was expelled from the CPC for suspected bribery. The former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission could face prosecution as his case has been forwarded by the discipline agency to prosecutors.

He is not the only wayward official to try to find sanctuary in his retirement only to fail.

In 2013 alone, former ministerial-level officials, including Guo Yongxiang, former chairman of Sichuan’s provincial federation of literary and art circles; Ni Fake, former vice governor of east China’s Anhui Province; and Chen Baihuai, a former senior political advisor of Hubei Province, were placed under investigation over disciplinary violations.

All these are an emphatic showcase of China’s tough stance against corruption, and are sending a clear message: the country’s anti-corruption war will leave no hiding places for the crooked, and no one, no matter how much power they could wield with their hands, is above the law.

Although it is imperative to go all-out in the fight against corruption, efforts are needed to prevent it in the first place, by building a “cage of regulations” to be able to nip corruption in the bud.

Only through strict regulations, combined with self-discipline and properly-wielded public and media supervision, can the plague of corruption be cured across the country.