12 September 2011

China’s Government has new measures to prevent corrupt officials leaving the country with stolen assets.

The Ministry of Supervision has introduced a programme in 10 regions including Shanghai and Guangdong that requires officials to report when they or their families intend overseas travel. Local governments are to closely monitor the transfer abroad by officials of any assets.

These anti corruption measures follow a central bank report in June 2011 indicating that thousands of officials had stolen more than $120 billion and that many had fled overseas since the mid-1990s. For example the deputy director of Guangdong’s anti-corruption office, is this week being investigated for fraud despite previous recognition as being one of China’s ten outstanding prosecutors, “a real hero who could bring down ‘tigers’ .”

The Minister of Railways was removed from his role earlier this year, accused of corruptly receiving more than $30m relating to the Shanghai – Beijing High Speed Rail project, and Shanghai’s Party Chairman has been sentenced to 18 years in another corruption scandal.

(Ironically, the Shanghai metro has an undeniable appearance of efficiency, evident during the numerous trips I have made on it over the last week. It moves unbelievable numbers across a very wide network, with trains not only running frequently, but on
time. )

The Ministry of Supervision as part of the State Council (an equivalent of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in New Zealand), supervises the work of State agencies and investigates misconduct by people working in them.