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Officials' assets released to public

THE personal assets of more than 1,000 current and retired officials have been publicly released in Altay Prefecture, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Altay in northern Xinjiang, asked 1,064 officials, including those who had retired within the past three years, to file asset reports during the first 20 days of January.

The information was submitted to the prefecture's discipline inspection commission, which posted the data on its Website on Tuesday.

All but eight officials filed reports. Of the eight, three were being held in police custody for bribery. The other five were out of the region during the filing period, Wu Weiping, Party secretary of the commission, said yesterday.

Wu said some of the officials reported having two houses and some had residences in Beijing or Shanghai.

But nobody reported to having "accepted any money or gifts by taking advantage of their posts," according to the online report.

'Self discipline'

"The publication of the list is intended to promote self-discipline, not to ask officials to 'turn themselves in,'" Wu said.

The commission was examining the unreleased part of the report, which included information on their real estate and securities holdings. The released section covered salaries, allowances and rewards for lecturing, writing or consulting.

"If officials fail to provide a lawful source for a huge amount of property, or if we receive tip-offs from the public, we will start an investigation," Wu said.

Officials began to declare their assets years ago, but the declarations have never been made public.

Although what the Altay authorities choose to post is only a small part of the declared assets, the move was still hailed by most critics as a step in the right direction.

The practice won applause from residents. They hoped the government could grant them the right to supervise and report. Some even hoped the practice could be carried out across the country.

Zhang Sen, an officer from the prefecture's public security bureau, said: "The publication of officials' property can be seen as an alarm bell for public servants. We should keep the bell ringing in our mind."


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