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.
@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.
@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?
@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!
@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?
@GuoGuangdong: “Heh heh, how old are you?”–This’ll go viral.
@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?
@Weiwenjinhechu: Ten years is still too fast. We should design a hundred-year plan, no, a thousand-year plan!
@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.)
@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.
Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Mengyu Dong.