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Central discipline watchdog strengthens accountability mechanism to facilitate poverty alleviation by Ai Yang, August 23, 2016 Adjust font size:

China’s central discipline watchdog has been strengthening supervision and punishment measures in poverty alleviation in recent years, and a number of significant criminal cases have been uncovered.

Zhou Guobin, former Party branch secretary at Nanwulao Village, Beizhang Town, Wenshui County of Shanxi Province kept 19,200 yuan to himself as a kickback when applying for basic living allowances for 36 poor families.

Wang Lichen, former Party branch secretary of Yudong Village, Yuji Town, Linghai City of Liaoning Province claimed basic living allowances of 18,400 yuan over seven years in the name of a mentally handicapped villager.

Liao Jinchang, former head of village neighborhood Party committee at Dapozhenzhai Village, Cangwu County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region demanded 37,600 yuan in kickbacks from 10 poor families who benefited from house renovation schemes.

The central discipline watchdog has unclosed many such typical corruption cases occurred during poverty alleviation throughout the country. The ‘kickbacks’ seem trivial compared to major graft cases in other fields; however, they have done great harm to the poverty alleviation campaign.

The watchdog has found that most corruption in poverty alleviation takes place at the grassroots level. Those corrupted officials held various posts from village heads to county leading group officials. They have abused funds allocated for basic living allowances, old house renovations, disaster relief, relocations, poverty alleviation loans, pensions, agricultural subsidies and so on through many ways such as retention, false claims, squandering and misappropriation of funds. Some corrupted officials have even favored their own friends and relatives by intercepting funds directed at the handicapped, critically ill patients and the elderly.

On April 22, 2016, the discipline inspection commission held a work conference to further push for the accountability mechanism, and a new wave of anti-corruption campaign was launched.

On June 18, 2016, a special ‘refund ceremony’ was held in Nandu Town, Cenxi City of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, attracting thousands of villagers from nearby neighborhoods.

Funds withheld and intercepted by corrupt officials were returned to the poor villagers at the ceremony, including basic living allowances falsely claimed by others and kickbacks retained from old house renovations.

The money was quickly returned to the rightful owners thanks to the special campaign launched in September 2015 in the autonomous region.

The nine-month campaign unclosed 13,091 corruption cases. Among them 9,392 were put on record. It has punished 3,823 people, given warnings to and disciplined 1,954 people, and transferred 350 people to judicial organs. The campaign has been so effective that a total of 11,893 Party members have come forward voluntarily and returned a total of 114 million yuan of illegally retained funds.

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