34 high-ranking Communist Part officials in Anhui province pledged not to accept bribes in a full-page newspaper advertisement on Thursday, SCMP reports.
Tang Chengpei, Suzhou’s mayor and other officials stated in Foxiao Paper that they would not accept any bribes such as cash, coupons or gifts from their subordinates, everyday citizens or organizations that they are responsible for regulating.
Their public pledge is a reaction to the public’s weary attitude towards endemic government corruption. 50.9% of Chinese people recently surveyed in an international prosperity survey reported that government and business corruption is widespread. Similarly, confidence in anti-corruption measures were at a five-year low amongst urban Chinese in 2012.
This comes as no surprise as billions of yuan are stolen annually by officials at all levels of government nationwide. However, as author Murong Xuecun writes, prevention of corruption is highly complex, especially in China.
Anhui in particular has seen many major cases of bribery. Earlier this year, a former official from the province was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for accepting bribes amounting to over 5 million yuan. Similarly, in 2010, an Anhui Party chief was sentenced to death for taking 3 million yuan in bribes and trying to frame an underling who threatened to expose him. In fact, in the first half of 2007, a whopping 54 Anhui officials were investigated for corruption.
Hopefully, this promise will not be as laughable as what we dubbed “China’s worst Photoshop ever” released by Anhui officials in October. Many netizens are highly skeptical of the recent announcement:
“What’s there to boast about? Isn’t this part of the civil servants’ code of conduct?” one microblogger commented.
“It’s ironic that our leaders just promised in a party paper that they would not commit crimes,” wrote Yuan Yulai, a Beijing-based lawyer.
By Maea Lenei Buhre