Over 11,000 officials punished in China's construction sector cleanup
GOV.cn Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More than 11,000 Chinese officials have been punished for graft, dereliction of duty or rights infringement in a campaign to clean construction-related sectors, said the Ministry of Supervision on Tuesday.

A total of 11,273 officials received disciplinary or administrative penalties from September 2009 to March this year, and 5,698 of them have been prosecuted, Vice Supervision Minister Hao Mingjin announced at a press conference.

Among the 11,273 punished, 78 were prefecture-level and 1,089 were county-level officials, according to the ministry.

Figures released by the Supreme People's Procuratorate at the same conference show that prosecutors nationwide investigated 15,010 people in construction-related illegal activities during the same period.

Among these individuals, prosecutors allege that 13,416 were involved in embezzling or taking bribes of more than 2.99 billion yuan (460 million U.S. dollars), and prosecutors helped retrieve more than 360 million yuan from these cases.

In addition, another 1,594 were investigated for suspected dereliction of duty or rights infringement.

Hao cited 20 major criminal cases in his opening remarks, in which officials in charge of land management and state-run construction companies were penalized.

Among the 20 cases, the largest embezzlement amounted to more than 61.56 million yuan.

Construction-related sectors are regarded vulnerable to graft in China.

Corruption can occur in the various layers of a construction project, from land-use approval to project management, public bidding and construction material purchases, Hao said.

He added that the majority of the corruption cases are related to officials taking bribes and exchanging public resources for personal gain by illegally intervening in construction projects.

The authorities will continue to strengthen supervision over the construction industry and thoroughly investigate criminal cases, Hao said.

A special government task force that probes irregularities in the construction sector plans to continue fighting against corruption in projects and punish those officials who are proven to have inappropriately intervened in the bidding process.

The task force plans specific checks this year in projects involving land and resources, transportation, and housing and urban-rural construction.

Editor: An Lu
Source: Xinhua