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63,000 officials punished in anti-graft drive last year: China

world Updated: Mar 12, 2017 13:35 IST

China’s court system concluded 45,000 graft cases in 2016, implicating 63,000 people.(File Photo)

China said on Sunday that its politically significant anti-graft drive gained a “crushing momentum” last year as 63,000 officials were punished with the number of prosecutions increasing by one third from 2015.

China is in the middle of a sweeping campaign against corruption which targets both high-ranking “tigers” and lowly “flies”.

Last year, the central authorities announced that the campaign had “gained crushing momentum”, a report of China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) presented to the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) said.

China’s court system concluded 45,000 graft cases in 2016, implicating 63,000 people, the report presented by Chief Justice Zhou Qiang said.

The defendants included 35 former officials at the provincial and ministerial level or above, and 240 at the prefectural level, he said.

Officials say that the number of prosecutions increased by one third compared to 2015.

Last year, state-run Global Times reported that over 1.01 million officials have been punished since anti-corruption campaign initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013 in a bid to restore public confidence in the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) rule and avert a Soviet Union-style collapse of the party’s control over the country.

The campaign netted top political figures like Zhou Yongkong, the former national security chief under the previous regime headed by Hu Jintao, besides some of the high- ranking military figures.

Over 40 high-ranking military officials have been prosecuted in the country’s biggest anti-graft drive, which also drew criticism that Xi made use of it to weed out his rivals in the party.

Xi and Premier Li Keqiang, along with other top leaders, were present when the Supreme Court’s work report was presented today.

The Procurator-General Cao Jianming in his report to the NPC said procurators had investigated 47,650 people for their suspected involvement in duty-related crimes last year.

Procurators also investigated 17,410 lower level officials suspected of corruption in land expropriation and demolition, social security, management of agriculture-related funds and other issues concerning the people’s well-being, Cao said.

The crackdown also covered dissidents and “illegal” religious leaders.

Last year, Chinese courts also convicted a number of people on charges of subverting state power, including Zhou Shifeng, a lawyer who formerly managed the Fengrui Law Firm in Beijing, and Hu Shigen, an illegal church leader.

China’s senior population -- those aged 60 and above -- is expected to reach 255 million by 2020, a plan announced by China’s cabinet has said.

By 2020, senior citizens will account for 17.8 per cent of the total population, and the number of people aged 80 or older will reach 29 million, said the plan on the development of the elderly during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the plan, China will provide better senior care services by improving the social security system and enabling both the government and market to function.

“The plan aims to deal with challenges brought by an aging society in the next 30 years, and has set top-level policy for the country’s elderly care development,” said Lu Jiehua, a professor at Peking University.

Lu stressed problems such as unbalanced regional development, as eldercare service in rural areas faces great challenges.