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More checks and balances needed to fight China graft, official says

On the left, the Party’s Central Committee International Department Vice Minister Ai Ping (Photo by Chua Guan Cheong)Editor's note: The FCPA Blog's senior journalist Chua Guan Cheong is in Beijing covering the 18th National Congress, which began on November 8.

Ai Ping is the vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee International Department.

He left no doubt about the importance of maintaining a clean government.

“It involves the life and death of a Party," Ai said.

“The fundamental way to fight against corruption is to design and reform our system so that there is no unchecked and unregulated power, then there would be less and less unauthorized power,” Ai said.

Ai thinks the party is doing what it can to fight graft. But not everyone will be convinced.

"Of course," he said, "the people are sometimes surprised by the corruption of very senior cadres like Bo Xilai and Liu Zhijun, (so) at the same time, (you can say) the CPC hasn’t done enough to prevent that.”

“But for me, I think we have to be practical looking at the issue. In a sense, corruption is very difficult to completely wipe out, especially for developing countries in the process of rapid economic development.

“Rapid economic development means reallocation of interest, and some people may not reject the opportunities to enrich themselves through illegal ways,” Ai said.

Ai also talked about preventive measures like educating the cadres against crossing the “red” line, and adopting reforms to combat corruption.

“On the one hand I have said that I believe the CPC has done more or less enough, it means the general layout of the efforts to fight corruption. Of course at the same time we have to be realistic and objective that to fight against corruption is a long term job and just like in every country you will find prison facilities. Just to have a law would not guarantee that everybody will abide by it, and you need efforts to put that right,” the vice minister concluded.

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