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China punishes over 35,000 for poverty relief corruption

China had punished a total of 35,240 people for corruption in poverty relief in rural areas from 2013 to November 2015, the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) said on Monday.

This accounted for 22.3 percent of work-related corruption prosecutors dealt with during the period.

Poverty relief corruption includes embezzlement by village officials due to lack of transparency or supervision.

In 2009, Chengde county in Hebei province received 3 million yuan (US$460,000) to develop a broiler industry. Villagers in Bajiaxiang township were allowed only 10,000 yuan each but they had to sign for 15,000 yuan. The baffled villagers were told by their village heads that the other 5,000 yuan was used to pay for banquets, travel expenses and telephone bills for the fund distributors.

Funds, in most cases, go in to the bank accounts of villagers, but many villagers' bank cards and pass books are held by village officials for various reasons, many fare not even aware that they have received funds.

The SPP and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development launched a plan in February to crack down in next five years on corruption in the area of poverty reduction.

According to the plan, prosecution authorities will work with poverty alleviation offices to make sure corruption tip-offs received via a hotline the latter operate can be transferred to the procuratorate at the same level for further investigation.


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