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March 17, 2011

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Curator list tackles education corruption

A LIBRARY curator at Shanghai's Fudan University has published a list of library expenditure to show his determination to fight against corruption spreading to the educational sector.

Ge Jianxiong, a national political advisor and the library curator at Fudan, posted his 35 million yuan (US$5.3 million) list of 2009 library expenditures on the Internet last week.

Among the expenditure, 30.9 million yuan was used for book purchases, according to Ge's post. According to the list, one third of the books had been borrowed at least once, while 8 to 10 percent were borrowed more than five times a year, which shows both the popularity and necessity of the books.

He said expenditure on public affairs, especially with regards to serving guests, was open to criticism. Among expenditure highlighted by Ge, 67,200 yuan was used for a reception.

Like government funds, educational spending is an area susceptible to corruption. The lack of supervision and a transparency mechanism make the sector "a grey area" for public complaints.

Ge said commissions offered by publishers were common when school libraries purchased books, adding that the books were sold at a discount, meaning the difference could be easily embezzled.

"Publishing the expenditure will no doubt impose pressure on other school departments," he said, adding that he would also publish expenditure for 2010.

Ge suggested all school departments make financial accounts "clean and transparent."

Ge's move has won public support. Cao Jingxing, a news analyst, said it served as a warning for corrupt officials in the education sector.


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