Officials vow to fight election corruption

GUANGZHOU – Discipline inspection authorities in Guangdong province have promised to ensure that the elections for local Party committees this year take place in a clean, fair and open manner.

Anyone guilty of buying votes or of corrupting the elections will be seriously punished in accordance with the law, said Wang Xingning, secretary-general of the Guangdong provincial Party Commission for Discipline Inspection.

“The officials who are in charge of the election will also be held to account if they fail to fight and investigate corruption cases in the election,” Wang said.

Wang made his remarks at a news conference in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, following reports of various misdeeds and breaches of discipline that had occurred in past elections.

Since 2008, 1,985 reports of election corruption have been received and 49 people in 38 such cases have been punished in the province, according to the disciplinary department, which revealed facts from 12 typical cases at the conference.

Speaking of one of the most serious cases, the department told of how a criminal at large had become a Party member and later secretary of the village’s Party committee.

Ye Dongqing took part in a robbery in 1999 and remained at large afterward. In August 2006, he was admitted to the Party.

In March 2008, Ye was elected to the Party committee of his village. Slightly more than a year later, the Xinbao township Party committee appointed him as Party chief of his village.

This year, he became a candidate for the position again. But his political ambitions were not fulfilled.

He was arrested in March, after local residents had told authorities about his crime.

Later, Wu Yundong, Party secretary of Xinbao township and chairman of the local People’s Congress, and four other officials involved in Ye’s case were removed from their posts and punished.

Beside Ye, the disciplinary department discussed cases in which officials had accepted bribes, bought votes and fallen into other types of election corruption, according to Wang Xingning.

In Shaweier village, in Guangzhou’s Nansha district, four Party members, Guo Ruirong, Chen Huiqiang, Chen Guixiang and Feng Qingling, were detained after being accused of offering bribes to 43 Party members in their village in February. In their attempts at becoming the next Party chief of the village, they had tried to buy votes by offering 5,000 yuan ($770) to each Party member in their village.

Wang Chenyao, a farmer in Conghua, a suburban city of Guangzhou, said government departments should spare themselves no pains in the fight against corruption in the coming months, since many elections will take place in Guangdong townships and villages in 2011.

“Vote buying and other types of corruption do exist in many elections in the province,” he said.

“Competent village heads can never be elected unless elections take place in an open and fair system.”

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