Netizen Voices: Financial Disclosure Never?

Hu Xijin as a loyal dog. “Don’t go! My master is about to undress! Just give him ten more years!” (Rebel Pepper)

Official corruption is front and center on Weibo. As netizens expose greedy politicians online, Xi Jinping is vowing to crack down. Among the issues citizens want addressed is the lack of public disclosure of officials’ financial assets.

On December 19, Global Times Chief Editor Hu Xijin addressed the issue of financial disclosure on Weibo, bringing on a barrage of angry comments. His post was gone the next morning:

@HuXijin: I think it is unrealistic to immediately have all officials publicly disclose their assets. If we push the process, we will inevitably create more problems than the ones we already need to solve. But financial disclosure is the way of the future. The clear road map and timetable for supporting financial disclosure nationally involves, first, implementation among reserve and newly appointed officials. Those who do not disclose will not be hired. From there, we can transition all officials to the system of disclosure. If we can complete this process in ten years’ time, China will be quite fortunate.

Gone, too, was a lively exchange between Caijing Magazine and Hu:

@Caijing: [Middle of the Night] Why is it unrealistic to immediately have all officials publicly disclose their assets? Could you specify which new problems it will create? If it’s that the prison system won’t be able to handle the influx, why not just build more prisons? You’d stimulate demand and create jobs in one fell swoop.

@HuXijin: Heh heh, how old are you? Could you post this under your name instead of Caijing’s?

Netizens took Hu to task:

@ProudBreeze: If the reform fails, then the revolution will undoubtedly come. If we have to wait ten years for minor progress like disclosing government officials’ financial assets, then how long must we wait for other reforms? One more question: do you think the party-state could afford to wait ten years? If there is no substantial action, people will lose faith in you within five years.

@傲气尘风:改革不成,则革命必来!一个小小的公示都要等上十年,其它的改革又要多久?再问一句,你觉得党国等得起十年吗?若无实质的动作,不出五年,民众就会失去对你们的信心。

@hu_jia: Global Times Chief Editor Hu Xijin says before going to work this morning, he will delete the Weibo post which says we need ten years to disclose officials’ assets. This post has 3,000 fantastic comments. One of the newest: “Ten years from now the officials will be hung on the street lamps, and their assets will be disclosed naturally.” For Communist Party officials, the outcome of financial disclosure will be terrible, but will it be better if they don’t disclose? Financial disclosure has to happen immediately. There are no technical or legal barriers. Refusing to disclose financial assets is proof of the corruption of the Chinese Communist Party.

@hu_jia:环球时报主编胡锡进说今早上班之前会删掉他关于官员财产公开要十年的微博。此条微博三千条评论很精彩,最新一条是:“十年后官员们都被挂路灯上了,财产自然就会公开了。”对共产党的官员而言,公开财产结局很坏,不公开财产的结局就会好吗。财产公开必须马上实施,不存在技术和法律障碍。拒绝公开财产,就是中共贪腐的证据。

@MaGuanqingHibernate: It’s not realistic for you to disclose financial assets, yet it is realistic for you to spend with extravagance while citizens drift hopelessly?

@马观晴已冬眠:官员财产公开制度不现实,你们奢侈挥霍,国家公民颠沛流离就现实?!

Hu aids in the Wolf Vegetarian Plan. “Just wait a moment, Brother, and we’ll be all done!” (Rebel Pepper)

@Elselooker: For the disclosure of officials’ personal assets, Hu Xijin wildly suggests that we “first implement [it] among reserve and newly appointed officials. Those who do not disclose will not be hired. From there, we can transition all officials to the system of disclosure. If we can complete this process in ten years’ time…” An excuse like this shows that the well-fed cannot know how the starving suffer. It’s obvious he’s dodging the issue. If the people’s resistance doesn’t continue to grow in scale and brutality, to the point that the official system can’t control them, we won’t achieve financial disclosure in 10,000 years!

@监政铲腐:公布个财产,胡锡进 竟然规划,“先从新后备和新提拔的官员开始财产公开,不公开的不予提拔。然后逐步向全体官员过渡。如果这个进程能10年内完成”,这真是饱汉不知饿汉饥的说辞,推脱之意非常明显,如果没有人民群众越来越大面积的高效强力的抗争,直到让公器也无法控制,恐怕一万年也难!

@Poetjustice: Hu Xijin thinks “it is unrealistic to immediately have all officials publicly disclose their assets. If we push the process, we will inevitably create more problems than the ones we already need to solve.”–I would like to ask Chief Hu: Why is it unrealistic? Which new problems will it create? How could Sweden implement financial disclosure more than 200 years ago? How could most countries in the world implement it? How could Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan implement it? Is it true that the superiority of socialism lies in the infeasibility of officials’ financial disclosure?

@徐昕:胡锡进认为:立即实行所有官员财产公开制度不现实。如果强推它,新制造的问题必将多于它要解决的问题——请教胡总:为什么不现实?会制造哪些新问题?为什么瑞典200多年前就可实行?为什么世界大多数国家可实行?为什么港澳台可实行?难道社会主义优越性就在于不能实行官员财产公开制度吗?

@GuoGuangdong: “Heh heh, how old are you?”–This’ll go viral.

@郭光东:“呵呵,你几岁?”——胡总编这句估计要火。

@Cinderana: Why is it unrealistic to disclose financial assets right now? 90% of the countries in the world have disclosed officials’ assets. Can’t we display the superiority of socialism here? If we wait for another ten years, the corrupt officials will all be retired. Mr. Hu even goes on to ask how old the other person is. Doesn’t he just say the darndest things? Mr. Hu, when you comment on historical figures, would you please ask yourself how old you are first?

@迷仰:为什么马上公开财产不现实?世界90%的国家都公开了,社会主义的优越性不能在这儿体现一下吗?再等个10年,贪官们也退休了吧。还问别人几岁,真是态度可掬。胡编您下次评价历史人物的时候也先问问自己几岁好吗!

@Weiwenjinhechu: Ten years is still too fast. We should design a hundred-year plan, no, a thousand-year plan!

@为问今何处:十年还是太快了,应该设计个百年大计,不,千年大计。

@Northwind: Hu Xijin says the disclosure of officials’ assets  “will inevitably create more problems than the ones we already need to solve.” He has essentially made it clear that the bulk of officials are corrupt. He directly proves that China’s anti-corruption effort is a complete failure. (Of course, everybody knows this, but it’s rare for Frisbee Hu to say so. Don’t pretend that you are confident in the ideology, the system, and the path.)

@北风:胡锡进说,(财产公开)“新制造的问题必将大于它要解决的问题”,这句话其实已经挑明了中国官员的腐败占了大多数,也直接说明中国的反腐败是彻底失败的。(当然这是人尽皆知的事,但飞盘胡能说出来,也难得。就别装什么理论自信制度自信道路自信了。)

@Xushaolin: This weibo from Hu Xijin last night was deleted. Don’t know if it was deleted by him because he felt it was inappropriate, or deleted by Sina. I think this Hu guy sometimes fights fire with fire. Intentionally or not, he often reveals the real thoughts of government officials. Judging from netizens’ comments, his idea is a gross violation of the popular will. The disclosure of officials’ personal assets is the right way to go, and we must proceed. We can be careful and thoughtful in the process, but this cannot be used as an excuse to stall.

@老徐时评:胡锡进昨晚的这条微博被删了,不知是他自己感觉不妥删的还是新浪给删的。感觉胡这个人有时真是个高级黑,经常有意无意地将官员们内心真实想法泄露出 来。从当时网友的评论看,他的想法是多么的有违民意。官员财产公示是大势所趋必须往前走。程序上可以谨慎周到,但绝不能成为无所作为拖延时间的借口。

Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Mengyu Dong.