China has "zero tolerance" against corrupt officials: NPC spokesman

A soldier in plain clothes from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) stands guard in front of the Great Hall of the People, the venue of the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), in Beijing March 4, 2014. C
A soldier in plain clothes from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) stands guard in front of the Great Hall of the People, the venue of the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), in Beijing March 4, 2014. China will take a "zero-tolerance" attitude against corrupt legislators who accept bribes and rig elections, a spokesman for the national parliament said on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

China will take a "zero-tolerance" attitude against corrupt legislators who accept bribes and rig elections, a spokesman for the national parliament said on Tuesday.

"Regardless who they are, or where the electoral fraud takes place, we will handle it resolutely. There should be no exceptions in tackling corruption or illegal behaviour," said Ms Fu Ying at a press conference on the eve of the opening of National People's Congress (NPC).

She was responding to a question from The Straits Times on the government's efforts in cleaning up the electoral system in the wake of a scandal in Hunan's Hengyang city that found 518 of its 529 legislators guilty of accepting bribes in exchange for their votes.

Together they accepted more than 110 million yuan (S$22.7 million) of bribes and voted 56 delegates to the Hunan provincial legislature assembly in January last year.

Describing the case as the worst electoral fraud discovered in the NPC's 60-year history, Ms Fu said it has caused grave impact as she deplored those involved, all of whom have been dismissed from their parliamentary posts with at least seven facing legal prosecution.

"An NPC delegate carries a sacred responsibility. If such a person uses the post to make money or is willing to spend money to buy votes, how can this person represent the people?" she added.

esthert@sph.com.sg