Hubei auctions off gifts to public servants

WUHAN (Hubei) • Nearly 160 items given to public servants were auctioned in central China's Hubei province in a move seen by many as a sign of the local government's determination to fight corruption.

The gifts were turned in by staff of nearly 30 government organisations over the past two years in Wuhan, capital of Hubei.

Chinese public servants cannot accept gifts. Those who take business gifts must hand them in and register them within one month.

The items auctioned last weekend included jewellery, paintings, watches, electronic devices, wine and stamps. Initial bidding totalled 593,700 yuan (S$122,600).

Of the 159 pieces auctioned, 155 were sold.

The opening bid for an iPhone 6 with 16G storage was 1,800 yuan and it was sold for 2,900 yuan.

The most popular items were gift cards and coupons, said an unnamed employee of the Hubei Integrity Auction.

"In the past, business gifts handed in by public servants were put in warehouses, which was a waste," said an official with the local discipline inspection commission.

"By having an auction, we are making the confiscation of business gifts more transparent and avoiding waste in the meantime."

One bidder, identified only as Mr Fei, bought three painting and calligraphy items.

"By holding the auction, the local government is warning (Communist) Party members and cadres to abide by regulations and resist temptation," he said.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2016, with the headline 'Hubei auctions off gifts to public servants'. Print Edition | Subscribe