China to punish two top anti-corruption officials: Xinhua

BEIJING (AFP) - China's top anti-graft authority has punished two of its own senior officials for corruption and adopted new rules to supervise its investigators more strictly, state media said on Monday (Jan 9).

The new regulations, passed at the annual meeting of the ruling Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) over the weekend, seek to clarify how the country's 500,000 or so corruption investigators should deal with tip-offs, case management and confiscated assets, the China Daily newspaper said.

The body also decided that two of its former senior officials, Wang Zhongtian and Li Jianbo, would be punished for serious "disciplinary violations", the official Xinhua news agency said without giving details.

Wang was removed from his post, while Li was given a serious warning and ordered to resign.

Government corruption is rampant in China, and President Xi Jinping has presided over a much-publicised anti-graft campaign since coming to power, which has seen more than one million officials punished in what some compare to a political purge.

Around 410,000 officials, 76 of whom ranked at the ministerial level or above, were punished in 2016, the China Daily said.

"The spread of corruption has been effectively contained and the battle against corruption has gained crushing momentum. The objective of ensuring officials do not dare to be corrupt has been basically achieved," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying on Friday.

Yet corruption among those charged with the task of investigating graft remained a problem, state media said, prompting the adoption of stricter supervision.

"Disciplinary watchdogs should be made to follow strict rules and need to be supervised because they, too, are humans and thus could be vulnerable to temptation," said a Monday editorial in the China Daily.

More than 7,900 such disciplinary officials across the country have been punished since late 2012, 17 of whom hailed from the top CCDI body, the paper cited CCDI statistics as saying.

China will establish a national supervisory commission and institute several reforms to establish better oversight over officials, it said, according to Xinhua.

Pilot reforms had already begun in Beijing and the provinces of Shanxi and Zhejiang, Xinhua said, stating that the new system to supervise officials would be more "unified, authoritative and efficient".