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Blog post asking Chinese officials to declare assets goes viral

world Updated: Jun 12, 2013 15:03 IST
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The clamour for declaration of assets by government officials in China is growing after a microblog post calling them to either declare their assets or retire from their positions has gone viral.

"If officials think their personal assets are private, their only choice is to step down," said the post by Hainan Normal University scholar Liu Li that has been shared some 1.16 lakh times in Sina Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging service similar to Twitter.

The post is one of many that have been part of a citizen movement in China calling for disclosures, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.

"Would Chinese officials dare?" wondered one person who commented on Liu's post. "This is the only way out for the Chinese Dream," wrote another blogger.

The campaign picked up last year following revelations by western media about accumulation of large assets by top leaders.

Former Primer Wen Jiabao's family have owned assets to the value of $2.7 billion, a New York Times report said. While a Bloomberg report said the family of Xi, who was Vice President till last year, accumulated vast assets.

Both reports were blocked on the internet by Chinese firewalls and Foreign Ministry termed as smear campaign to discredit the ruling Communist Party leadership.

Some blog posts which called for leaders to declare their assets reportedly congratulated, former railways minister Liu Zhijun, for being "the first high-ranking official to publicly declare his assets".

Liu stood trial on Sunday on corruption charges. He was accused of accepting $10.7 million worth of assets.

Liu's fortune of more than 800 million yuan ($131 million) and fleet of 16 cars had been exposed prior to his trial, the Post report said.

In the latest campaign, the Chinese bloggers sited new rules floated by Macau, a China administered territory, making it mandatory requirement for the officials to declare their assets.

Macau's Assets Declaration Law went into force in April after a two-year debate.

Under the law, also dubbed the Sunshine Act, officials are required to declare all of their local and overseas assets, the report said.

Some lawmakers had opposed the plan arguing that even their spouses did not know about all their properties.

China's southern economic powerhouse province, Guangdong, had sent study groups to Macau to find ways to replicate the law, yet no progress has been made on public declarations of assets on the mainland, it said.