Amid an ongoing scandal combining politics, murder and international intrigue, Premier Wen Jiabao has called for strong measures to combat corruption, more accountability and deepening of reforms.
The focus should be on “fighting corruption and building a clean government”, Wen has written in a signed article to be carried Monday in an influential magazine ‘Quishi’ or The Truth, published by the Central Community of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The article is titled ‘Let the power be exercised under the sunshine’ and says the current government, which is in its last leg before the leadership change in autumn, should continue to cleanse itself of corruption.
A synopsis was published by the official Xinhua news agency on Sunday. It said the abuse of power can only be contained through wide and effective supervision.
“Governments at all levels should subject themselves to stricter administrative inspection and audit supervision, and be open to the supervision of the people,” Wen wrote.
The article could be interpreted as part of the continuing efforts of the government to curb the possible fallout of the removal of top leader Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife as a suspect in the murder of Briton Neil Heywood.
Articles have been splashed in all newspapers that the sacking of Bo is not a sign of factionalism within the secretive CPC but a sign that the top leadership was well in control of individual leaders.
“Bo's case is an independent incident of a violation of Party discipline and China's laws. What's going on is the inevitable result of a lawful investigation. It is an exaggeration to say the case mirrors China's ‘political fight,’ is what a Global Times article said Sunday; a tone that’s likely to be taken in more such articles.
Efforts apparently are also on to distance Bo from the murder as it could hurt the party’s image. The government newspaper in Chongqing has said that Heywood's death involved "the personal acts of Bo-Gu Kailai (Bo’s wife) and others", not mentioning the former party secretary in connection with the case. Heywood was found dead in a Chongqing hotel room in November. The article said Bo was under investigation for violating party discipline.
But Wen’s article indicates that the situation is serious. “Governments should immediately respond to and investigate problems reported by the people and the media, and publicise the results of investigation in a timely manner,” he said in the article.
The principle of "fighting corruption and building clean government" should be fully embodied when drafting legislation and regulations, social and economic policies as well as other important measures of reform, the outgoing Premier wrote.