China City Officials Must Reveal Assets for Promotions

A Chinese city seeking to clamp down on corruption ordered officials to disclose all their family assets on an internal website as a requirement for promotion.

Officials with the position of section head and higher in the eastern city of Huai’an must disclose all their property, their investment portfolios and the timing and price of vehicle purchases, according to a statement posted on a city government website today. There was no provision in the rules for the assets to be revealed publicly.

The move comes after efforts by top Chinese leaders to prohibit lavish banquets and luxury expenses. The ruling Communist Party is seeking to bolster its image ahead of a leadership transition later this year and after scandals including the ouster of Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai.

Asset disclosure “is considered widely to be a sunshine act and anti-graft tool,” the city government said in the statement. It cited comments by Premier Wen Jiabao last year in which he said an open system is fundamental in preventing corruption.

The government of Wenzhou, a Chinese city where slowing growth has spurred dozens of suicides, bankruptcies and disappearances by local businessmen, imposed a limit of 60 yuan a person for work-related meals and barred officials from expensing abalone, shark fin, and sea cucumber, the Wenzhou city Commission for Discipline Inspection said on July 5.

Spouses and children living in the same household as city officials must disclose equity investments and companies registered under their names, the commission said. Assets must be disclosed on an internal website, according to the Huai’an rules, which take effect Aug. 1.

— With assistance by Yidi Zhao

(Corrects spelling of Huai’an in second paragraph.)
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