Opening Session of the APEC Anti-Corruption Workshop

Shanghai, People's Republic of China, 24 April 2006
  • Speech by Li Yufu, Vice Minister of the Supervision of PRC
Respected Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In April, a pleasant breeze is blowing with warmth and spring is evident everywhere in Shanghai. I have a great pleasure, together with my American fellow officials and the Chinese colleagues, to welcome all the delegates participating in the APEC Anticorruption Workshop in Shanghai, a beautiful city full of vitality. Please allow me, on behalf of the Ministry of the Supervision of the People's Republic of China, to extend our warm congratulations on the convening of the Workshop and our cordial greetings to all the guests present here!
The current workshop is an important meeting jointly hosted by both Chinese and US governments with the aim of strengthening the exchange and cooperation in combating corruption under the framework of APEC. The workshop with the theme of Denial of Safe Haven, Asset Recovery and Extradition is of great importance and realistic significance. I believe that through the discussions and exchanges of each side's experiences and ways of handling the matters involving the denial of safe haven, asset recovery and extradition; and by exploring effective measures and policies in combating corruption with concerted efforts, the workshop will certainly serve to enhance the mutual understanding of APEC economies in anti-corruption and further advance the exchange and cooperation in the field of fighting against corruption.
Here I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to give you a brief account of how to build a clean government and fight against corruption.
Over the past twenty years or more since China's reform and opening up, China has achieved political stability, economic development, social progress and remarkable improvement of the people's living standard. To make the long story short, China has scored tremendous achievements in all aspects. The Chinese Government has attached great importance to building a clean government while committing itself to the reform and opening up and the development of economy. The Chinese Government has taken the fight against and prevention of corruption as a major task, which has great bearing upon the success or failure of our socialist modernization drive as well as upon the lasting peace and stability of the country, and which has been grasped firmly all the time. By adhering to the principle of tackling the corruption from both its root causes and symptoms, in a comprehensive way, combining punishment and prevention with emphasis on the latter, we firmly and continuously push forward the anticorruption work. As a result, building a clean government and economic development has positively interacted with each other. With years' work, remarkable achievements have been made in China's work on combating corruption. Therefore, the tendency of corruption has been curbed to a certain extent and the economic development has been effectively ensured. This serves to promote the building of democracy and legal system, advance the social equity and justice and safeguard the immediate interests of the people. Our achievements can be evidently embodied as follows:
First, we have adhered to the principle that governments at all levels should be strict in enforcing disciplinary regulations and resolutely tackling all breaches of the law or disciplinary regulations.
China has all along been strict with the administration of the public servants. The supervision organs are mainly supervising the performance of duties by the government departments and the public servants. This involves the supervision over the enforcement of laws and regulations and building a clean and diligent government. As a rule, stress is laid on the oversight of performance of duties by government departments and their exercise of power. We are determined to resolutely rectify and deal with the conduct of disobeying laws, losing control of strict law enforcement, disregarding orders and unheeding prohibitions. We have resolutely dealt with those guilty of corruption without indulgence once they are found out. Those public servants who have been suspected of committing crimes will be all handed over to the judicial organs according to laws. In the course of dealing with all breaches of law or disciplinary regulations, we have paid close attention to the discovery of vulnerable spots existing in administration and supervision, improved our systems and plugged loopholes.
Second, we have promoted the administration according to law and standardize the conducts of public servants. By formulating the "Implementing program for promoting the administration according to law in a comprehensive way", the Chinese government decided the objectives and tasks of building a government run by law.
"The Work Rule of the State Council" has been amended in order to stress the three basic principles such as democratic and scientific decision-making, adherence to the administration according to law and strengthening the administrative supervision. The key to promoting the administration according to law is to standardize the official conducts of the public servants and to enhance the supervision and control over the administrative powers. Consequently, in view of the key links and posts where there may be conflicts between the government employee interests and the public interests, the Chinese Government has stipulated and carried out a series of codes of conducts and moral norms about the official conducts of the public servants. They have covered all aspects of dishonest conducts that the public servants may perform in the market economy; these regulations including the points: to standardize the exercise of power and the consumption for official business and duties by public servants, and the prohibitions of seeking illicit benefits by public servants through the influence of their posts. Governments and supervision organs at all levels have effectively inspected the implementation of these regulations so as to punish and restrain the dishonest conducts, such as abusing power for personal gains and living in luxury and waste.
Third, we have persisted in the idea of administration for the people and resolved the eminent problems that affected the public interests.
We have all along stuck to the principle of putting the people first, thus conscientiously, striving for social equity and promoting social harmony and stability. Over the past years, we have mainly carried out the special administration work such as stopping the unauthorized collection of fees by educational institutions, rectifying the unhealthy conduct in the fields of medicine purchase and sale and medical services, alleviating the financial burden on farmers, correcting the wrong doings that affect the interests of farmers in the expropriation of farmlands, that affects the interests of urban residents in the demolition of their residential buildings, that affects the legitimate rights and interests of workers in the restructuring of enterprises and in the bankruptcy and resolving the problems of being in arrears with peasant workers money or skimping them with wages. As a result, those outstanding problems to which the people have strong complaints against have been gradually settled. China has attached high importance to the role played by the people in combating corruption. Governments at all levels, taking satisfaction to the people as the criterion and regarding the democratic appraisal as a carrier, have heeded respectfully the public opinions and suggestions about the work style of government departments and public-service units, and fairly ensure the people's right to know, to participate in and supervise.
Fourth, we have deepened the reform of the administrative examination and approval system to promote the transformation of government functions and innovation of management ways.
Complying with the requirements of building and perfecting the socialist market economic system, Chinese Government has pushed forward the reform of the administrative examination and approval system. By reducing the items for administrative examination and approval and standardize such behaviors, we have transformed the government functions, promoted the innovation of management and build a service oriented government. Various departments under the State Council have abolished or adjusted 1,806 items of administrative examination and approval in all which account for 50.1% of the total while such items abolished or adjusted by provincial governments also constitute more than 50%. As a result, the excessive amount of items for administrative examination and approval has been reduced. Meanwhile, we have constantly innovated management ways for administrative examination and approval and strengthened the oversight of the power for the administrative examination and approval. Most of the people's governments at the county or above the county level throughout the country have all set up Administrative Service Centers for running "all services provided in one big hall", "all services at one window" and developed the on-line government and on-line service for the administrative examination and approval so as to deal with the matters the masses has asked for in a concentrated way. This has resulted in effectively improving the quality and efficiency of the government work and also meeting the convenience of the people. In some areas, we have spread and used IT like to heighten the whole process supervision and control of the power for administrative examination and approval, thus achieving good results.
Fifth, we have incorporated the reforms into the anticorruption work and improve the systems.
  1. We have reformed the financial management system. In accordance with the requirements of building a public financial framework, we have strengthened the supervision and control of fund operations in those links such as the management of financial fund, its usage, its payment, etc. All the departments inside the central and provincial governments have introduced the way of special administration of finance. All fined and confiscated money are orbited into budget management. About 90% of the items for collecting government service fees approved by the central government are channeled into the financial budget management.
  2. The State Council has made public a decision on the reform of investment system. A new investment system is under construction. The new system will establish the enterprise as the main body of the investment. The government will only examine and approve those major and restrictive items from the view of safeguarding social public interests. The system for all the rest items will be changed into one of being put on record from one of being approved.
  3. We have formulated the Public Servant Law of the People's Republic of China. We have introduced a system of recruiting the public servants on the basis of public examination and a system of democratic appraisal, public notification before appointment, public selection and competition for posts regarding the appointment of leading official. Meanwhile we have adopted a system of resignation and a system of accountability for failing to supervise his subordinates. 4) We have established and perfected a system of bidding for construction projects, transfer of profitable land use rights, government procurement and transfer of property rights, so as to adapt to the requirements of developing the market economy. This has given full play to the basic role of the market in resources allocation and reduced the direct interference by the government in micro-economic activities. 5) The Chinese Government has attached high importance to promote the transparency system of government affairs. Governments at all levels are required to make transparent all the government information which is related to the economic and social administration and to the public services when they are running the administrative affairs and accept the public oversight. The public departments and units like schools, hospitals and those of water and electricity supply, environment, public transportation and others which are closely linked with the public interests have also gradually instituted a transparency system.
There still exist multifarious complicated factors for causing corruption in China because it is in the historical period of system transformation, structure adjustment and social change. Keeping a clear head on the above situation, the Chinese Government formulated and enacted the "Implementing Program for Building and Perfecting a System for the Punishment and Prevention of Corruption with Equal Emphasis on Education, Institution and Supervision". We have incorporated the anticorruption work into the overall strategy of the economic and social development and designed and promoted the anticorruption work from the proactive, comprehensive and strategic point of view. In reality, we strive to pay attention to the following points. First is to serve the overall situation. We persist in respecting and serving the economic construction by combining the anticorruption work with the economic development. We timely resolve the problems occurring in the economic and social development and provide guarantee of ideology, working style and discipline for the overall situation of reform, development and stability. Second is to serve the people. We strive to solve the outstanding problems which damage the public interests and regard it as the start point and the objective of our anticorruption. By firmly readdress the malpractices which damage the public interests, we work hard to effectively realize, safeguard and develop the public interest so as to make them enjoy the fruits brought by the reform and development as well as take advantages from the achievement scored by the anticorruption work. Third is to emphasize the prevention. We stick to the principle of putting equal emphasis on the education, institution and supervision which can form a scientific system in order to enhance the awareness of public servant of performing their duties honestly and their consciousness. By building standardized power operation mechanism and strict power control mechanism, we try to ensure the proper exercise of public power. Fourth is to tackle the corruption from it source. We use the idea of development and the way of reform to solve the deep rooted problems which cause the corruption. We strive to handle the commercial bribery and keep the justice of the market. It is necessary to explore and grasp the pattern that the corruption occurs and that of fighting against it. Suited to the process of development of socialist market economic system, we strive to gradually eradicate the conditions easy to breed corruption through deepening reforms, for the purpose of absolutely eliminating corruption.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Corruption is a public nuisance for human society. Along with the development of the economic globalization and regional economic integration, corruption has increasingly become a transnational crime and even got intertwined with other types of criminal activities. Anti-corruption has become a common task facing all countries of the world. More and more of countries are aware of the fact that it is very difficult to comprehensively curb the creation and spreading of corruption simply by relying on one country. Only by strengthening the bilateral, multilateral and also regional and international cooperation for combating corruption, and establishing an anti-corruption mechanism for cooperation, can it be possible to have an effective prevention of and fight against corruption.
APEC is an international organization of great influence in the Asian and Pacific region. In recent years, anti-corruption has become an important topic of APEC, which receives concern and attention from different sides. The APEC economies have an increasingly strong desire to strengthen the international cooperation for fighting against corruption under the framework of APEC. APEC's 12th informal leadership meeting held in November 2004 in Santiago adopted the Santiago Commitment on fighting corruption and ensuring transparency and the APEC ACT Course of Action. Strengthening the cooperation for anti-corruption under the framework of APEC has great significance to promoting the effective prevention of and the fight against corruption in the region. China has attached high importance to the international exchange and cooperation for combating corruption and signed and ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption. In line with the principles of equality and mutual benefit, respecting differences, and emphasizing practical results, we are ready to strengthen our cooperation with all countries and regions including the anti-corruption special organs of the APEC economies so as to make relentless efforts to advancing the anti-corruption cause of the Asian and Pacific Region. China is willing to carry out a frank and in-depth exchange and exploration on how to strengthen our cooperation for anti-corruption and other issues of common concern with all delegates at this workshop with an aim of sharing each side's successful experiences, studying the method of resolving the exiting problems, enhancing the understanding and trust, and promoting the cooperation for greater substantial results.
In conclusion, I wish this workshop a complete success.
Thank you!