China punishes 970 people for misuse of poverty relief funds: Xinhua

A migrant worker collects bricks walks out of the debris of demolished low-cost dwellings at a village mainly inhabited by migrant workers, in the Tongzhou district of Beijing.
A migrant worker collects bricks walks out of the debris of demolished low-cost dwellings at a village mainly inhabited by migrant workers, in the Tongzhou district of Beijing.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has punished 970 people for misusing funds earmarked for a poverty relief campaign intended to lift everyone in rural areas out of poverty by 2020, the Xinhua state news agency reported on Saturday (Dec 23).

Hu Zejun, head of the National Audit Office, made the comments while briefing lawmakers on Saturday of how the government's 2016 central budget was spent, the news agency said.

It gave no details on the amount of money the 970 people are suspected to have misused, how they misused it or what punishment they faced.

The government last year began targeting officials who misuse or embezzle poverty relief funds as part of the country's broad anti-graft campaign.

Hu said the total amount spent on poverty relief was nearly 3.27 billion yuan (S$672 million), and that the government had made efforts to better identify poor people who needed help.

She said about 101,800 people had been removed from the government list of registered poor, while 95,100 had been added to it.