Bloomberg News

China Must Combat Corruption, Wen Writes After Bo’s Purge

April 16, 2012

Wen Jiabao, China's premier. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Wen Jiabao, China's premier. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the government could lose its grip on power unless it imposes stronger measures to fight corruption, according to an article published after a member of the ruling Politburo was suspended.

Public supervision is needed to limit abuses of power, and authorities must continue to work for a “clean government” in 2012, the last year of the current administration, Wen wrote in Qiushi, or Seeking Truth. The article published today in the party magazine was based on a March 26 speech Wen delivered to the State Council.

The publication of Wen’s commentary comes after Bo Xilai was suspended from his top Communist Party positions on suspicion of committing “serious discipline violations,” according to an April 10 report by the official Xinhua News Agency. Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, and an aide were put in custody on suspicion of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood.

In his article, titled “Let Power be Exercised in the Sunshine,” Wen wrote that government at all levels should be open to supervision by the people. Stricter administrative inspection and auditing should also be imposed.

Corruption thrives because of “excessive concentration of power and the lack of effective oversight,” Wen said. He warned that “the nature of the regime may change” and possibly come to an end if the issue isn’t handle properly.

‘Immediately Respond’

Officials who underperform, allow important cases of corruption to occur or fail to handle them in a timely manner will be held accountable, he wrote. They should “immediately respond to and investigate problems reported by the people and the media and publicize the results of investigations in a timely manner,” he wrote.

In an April 14 commentary, “Law and Party Disciplines Brook No Violation,” Xinhua said, “the spouses and children of some officials have taken advantage of their power to seek personal gains, disregarding the law, thus stirring public outcry.” The decision to investigate Bo and the Heywood death is a “resolute move,” the unsigned story said.

Wen also urged the government to enhance the management of government officials whose wives and children have emigrated. The government should also ban its leaders from taking part in “luxury activities” that are paid by the government or those that may affect their fairness.

Bo’s downfall comes as China prepares for a once-in-a- decade leadership change. The 18th Communist Party Congress later this year will pick a chairman to replace incumbent Hu Jintao and name a new Politburo.

Premier Wen, 69, is a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the nine-member group that exercises supreme power in China. At a press briefing at the National People’s Congress last month he said that China has seen increased problems including corruption and a loss of credibility in recent years.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Henry Sanderson in Beijing at hsanderson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net


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