China's secretive anti-graft agency unveils website

BEIJING (AFP) - The secretive anti-graft department of China's ruling Communist Party has launched a website, as Beijing promotes its anti-corruption campaign with a fanfare of publicity.

The website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China officially went online this week, according to a statement posted on www.ccdi.gov.cn.

It was unveiled as authorities step up a graft crackdown that, according to Chinese media reports, has seen nine officials at or above vice ministerial level fall since new leaders under Xi Jinping took over in November.

For years, the CCDI has conducted its operations in secret, neither issuing statements to foreign media, nor publicising a contact telephone number.

But despite the website launch, when news of the dismissal of senior official Jiang Jiemin emerged Tuesday it came via China's official news agency Xinhua.

The CCDI site will be "a major channel" to release news, interpret policies, listen to public opinion and receive online reports of wrongdoing, according to an introductory statement on it.

"The building of the official website... is a new measure to take the advantage of the Internet to carry out our work based on the needs of cultivating a fine Party culture and clean government and fighting corruption," it said.

The website also detailed the CCDI's five working steps and organisational structure, which includes 10 "discipline inspection and supervision offices" and other organs.

Two physical addresses and a corruption hotline were published - but no contact number for the agency itself was provided.