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December 7, 2012

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Home » Opinion » Press Notes

Officials should disclose family assets

DISCLOSURE of real estate assets held by officials and their families is a starting point in fighting corruption.

We have been eager for a mandatory property declaration regime for a long time and it will probably be gradually implemented since a nationwide anti-corruption campaign is on the way.

Of the many kinds of hidden income and assets, ownership of multiple, luxury residences is conclusive evidence of corruption, since real estate transactions can be traced, while actual hand-over of cash is often never detected.

Online exposure of undeclared assets has led to the downfall of notable officials. Cai Bin, a senior urban management official in Guangzhou, was sacked in October after an online muckraking campaign revealed that he owned 21 pieces of real estate worth 40 million yuan (US$6.4 million).

Cases show that many officials take bribes from real estate developers and profit from speculation in the booming industry, but they do not implement policies to control rocketing property prices. This state of affairs severely damages the public interest.

Former Pudong New Area deputy district chief Kang Huijun was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 for illegally owning 12.1 million yuan worth of property.

It makes sense to identify corrupt officials by checking property ownership. When records show that huge wealth does not accord with their official status and income, authorities can begin to investigate.

We should establish a property declaration system as soon as possible.


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