Graft a 'malicious tumour hurting China's economy'

BEIJING • A deputy mayor took 644 million yuan (S$137 million) in bribes, more than the combined fiscal income of nine poor counties.

Another corrupt official would demand an extra 2 per cent payment - on top of interest charges - to be paid directly to a company controlled by her. This official even asked 12 firms to chip in to buy a 390-million-yuan aircraft for her personal use.

Mr Wang Rulin, Communist Party chief of Shanxi province, gave these examples on Sunday to show how a greedy official could destroy the economy and undermine party rule.

Addressing a panel meeting of the National People's Congress' annual session, he described corruption as a "malicious tumour" that severely hindered China's economic development, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP) yesterday.

China's ongoing anti-corruption campaign could help to get rid of these "black sheep", he said.

Numerous top provincial officials from the coal-rich province and members of the so-called Shanxi Gang, senior cadres in Beijing with ties to the province including former presidential aide Ling Jihua, have been snared, said the SCMP.

China's graft watchdog yesterday said the party punished nearly 300,000 for graft last year.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on its website that 200,000 cadres were given "light punishment" for graft, while 82,000 had "heavy punishment", reported the Xinhua news agency.

State media reported that a former bank chief in north China's Inner Mongolia, his mistress and his son went on trial yesterday for corruption. Yang Chenglin, former chairman of the Bank of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, his mistress Zhang Ting and son Yang Hai are accused of obtaining more than 600 million yuan through embezzlement and accepting bribes.

Yang Chenglin allegedly used the bribes to buy apartments in Beijing and Inner Mongolia for Zhang and United States properties for his son. He also used public funds to take business tours overseas and buy expensive gifts, reported Xinhua.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2016, with the headline 'Graft a 'malicious tumour hurting China's economy''. Print Edition | Subscribe