On March 5th, Premier Li Keqiang outlined China’s priorities for the coming year in his government work report. High on the agenda was corruption, and a promise of “zero tolerance”. Two years into China’s battle against corruption, lawmakers are strengthening existing legislation to better combat and punish graft.
China’s campaign against corruption. These few words have come up time and again when discussing Chinese politics over the past two years. But they’re more than just words. They represent vast efforts deployed to combat graft. Efforts that have seen numbers of high-profile officials brought to justice.
Before the National People’s Congress kicked off earlier this month, a spokeswoman said China will persist with its war on corruption.
“The job of the NPC standing committee is to attack the root of the problem by building an anti-corruption institution, and thus creating an environment in which officials dare not breach the laws and regulations,” National People’s Congress spokeswoman Fu Ying said.
The key to that is robust legislation. Top legislator Zhang Dejiang explained that China was ramping up national legislation on corruption. From the beginning of the anti-graft campaign, authorities pledged that no one was above the law. High-level and minor officials alike would be held accountable.
“The central government must fight both ‘tigers’ and ‘flies’. We pay equal attention to corruption cases at the grassroots level,” Minister of Supervision Huang Shuxian said.
The drive against corruption is fierce and enforcing the law on a local level demands resilience.
Just last year, Shanxi province was caught in the eye of the storm. Thirty officials were found guilty, including seven on the provincial level.
“Some officials didn’t behave themselves even after the 18th CPC National Congress. One official was caught in December last year. He accepted a house worth 2.8 million yuan in Sanya just a month ago,” Shanxi NPC deputy Wang Rulin said.
President Xi Jinping has vowed to run the Party strictly. And with the NPC working on new regulations, his words are more than just a warning. They are a promise of swift and unwavering justice.