The corruption of the children of government officials, or princelings, is the main source of public dissatisfaction in China, according to a recent online poll. The country’s former auditor general has called for better legal structures to oversee their business dealings, the Financial Times reports:
“From the numerous cases currently coming to light, we can see that many corruption problems are transacted through sons and daughters [of officials],” Li Jinhua said in the online forum on Thursday. Mr Li is widely respected for his role as China’s top anti-corruption official between 1998 and 2008.
He said the rapidly growing wealth of Communist officials’ children and family members “is what the public is most dissatisfied about”.
A recent online opinion poll conducted by the People’s Daily found that 91 per cent of respondents believe all rich families in China have political backgrounds.
The children of China’s top leaders are often referred to as “princelings”. Many have been educated in the west and have extensive business dealings in China.
But it is unusual for senior officials and the party’s own mouthpiece to discuss the issue of nepotism and corruption in such a public way as the subject is regarded as potentially destabilising in a one-party state where the leadership lacks a democratic mandate.
Minister of Supervision Ma Wen, a cabinet member, told reporters in Beijing on the sidelines of parliamentary sessions that a Communist Party Central Committee guideline will come into force, that requires all officials in the country to report detailed information about income, property owned and investments, and jobs held by their spouses and children.
However, critics still complain that the list is “not exhaustive” and there is no effective way to ensure such a (reporting) system is well implemented, and some are seeking legislation making it mandatory for officials to declare assets, the China Daily reported on Friday.
“The task this year is to implement and improve the new system,” Ma, who is also deputy secretary of the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection, the country’s top anti-graft watchdog, told the newspaper.