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China's Ruling Party Tries to Rebuild Public Confidence in Recent Wake-up Calls

12-06 14:27 Caijing
The measures were aimed to "genuinely win the confidence and support of the people"

China's new leadership has signaled what could be a break from the ingrained formalism and bureaucratism in the country's ruling party to restore public confidence, with muscles having already applied to cracking down corruptions.

News that China's top leaders were heading for an exhibition last week without blocking off intersections and causing traffic disruptions hijacked Thursday's headlines, along with a senior official's fall amid a recent spate of International crackdowns.

As one of the many privileges Chinese officials can enjoy, they are usually traveling with official motorcades accompanied by battalions of police who block off intersections, a source of public resentment especially in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai with frequent traffic congestions.

The release, by a senior official with the party's history research department, came after the leaders unveiled a lengthy list of "Does and Don'ts" for officials, summarized by Xinhua as "Eight Measures", including controls on grand gestures made during official visits.

The measures were aimed to "genuinely win the confidence and support of the people", said a statement carried on Xinhua News Agency.

Other directives range from reducing news coverage of the leaders, empty talks and scripted reports. Officials are also asked to avoid publishing their writings, and to make more fact-finding trips instead of posturing.

 "Experts agreed the situation has become more serious in China, but many expressed optimism in the new leadership, which has shown resolve in changing the ruling Party's image since the major power transition in November," the Global Times, a popular tabloid run by the ruling party, said Thursday, referring to a Wednesday's report that the Chinese mainland ranked 80th in Transparency International's corruption perceptions index, slipping from 75th last year.

Xinhuanet, the news portal run by the official Xinhua News Agency, highlighted Chinese internet users' power in anti-corruption by giving a wrap-up list of officials that fell in recent years in a report on Thursday. Corrupted officials were exposed after their sexy videos were put online, or pictures or documents circulated online revealed how much expensive watches or houses they have, which earned them names such as "Uncle House" and "Uncle Watch".

More than 600,000 Party officials have been investigated for corruption-related activities since 2007, the Global Times said, citing data from the Party's disciplinary body. Outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao warned in the 18th congress that corruption threatens the ruling party.

In the latest of official crackdowns, Li Chuncheng, who was confirmed under investigations by the party's disciplinary body, is believed the first cadre at the deputy-provincial level to be investigated after November's 18th National Congress. Li is Deputy Secretary of CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee, and is an alternate member of the Party's central committee.

Just ahead of the leadership transition event, former Chongqing boss Bo Xilai was ousted, and now faces trial for corruption and abuse of power, which the Global Times believes is a factor that dragged down China's corruption interception index.

Recent efforts show that the Party has "zero tolerance" when it comes to corruption, the People's Daily said in one of its series of commentaries about recent changes brought in by the new leadership.

It added that the Party would keep a lid on corruptions, which it means "in practical levels" rather than "theoretical". It's an issue that would not rest on attitude, but on an "iron fist", it said.

 "How about giving China, and its future, a little more confidence?" China's national broadcasters CCTV asked in a prime-time program on late Wednesday.

The new leadership has set a target for the Chinese, the Chinese dream, only half month after top officials' first public debut, and Wednesday's "Eight Measures" have delivered "commitment to all the ordinary people" and "restrains to officials", it contended, "With such a clear direction, measures… in such a short time…[we should be] more confident about China, and China's future."

 

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