Premier Li Keqiang (C), also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, speaks during the second anti-corruption work conference held by the State Council, in Beijing, capital of China, Feb 11, 2014. [Photo by Li Tao/Xinhua]
BEIJING -- Premier Li Keqiang on Feb 11 pledged to combat corruption, boost government transparency and build a clean government.
Li made the remarks as he presided over a meeting of the State Council, China’s cabinet, which mapped out this year’s anti-graft plans.
Li expects strict budget management from all arms of the government and called on auditors to meticulously investigate any questionable activity, stressing that all income and spending records must be included in budget management.
“A strict accounting system should be enforced as a safety lock on public funds. Auditing and supervision should be imposed on all public funds, state-owned properties and state-owned resources,” Li said.
Li called on auditors and supervisors to be “brave enough to crack the hard nuts” and investigate “deeply, thoroughly and concretely.”
The premier hailed 2013’s progress at various levels in fighting corruption and building a clean government, but admitted that corruption still exists and occurs all too frequently in certain areas.
With zero tolerance for corrupt officials, Li promised to implement the eight anti-bureaucracy, extravagance-busting guidelines announced by the central authorities late in 2012.
During the meeting, Li called for a complete halt to construction of new government buildings, training centers and hotels, curbing the often lavish spending of public funds, adding that numbers of government personnel should be restricted.
The money saved will be used to improve ordinary people’s lives, Li added, promising to streamline administration and delegate power downward.
Li pledged maximum effort to reduce approval for investment.
Last year, there were three rounds of loosening administrative approval, and in 2014 another 70 procedures will no longer require administrative approval, or be approved to lower levels.
Noting that during tender processes, purchases, and the allocation of state-owned land corruption is still rife, the premier asked for such operations to be standardized and legislated for.
Li pledged complete transparency in government affairs regarding “three public consumptions”: vehicle purchases and maintenance, overseas trips and official receptions.
He also urged more publicity for food and drug safety, affordable housing and medical charges.
He called for officials to take the lead in clean government by implementing the spirit of President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft speech to the third plenary session of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in January.
A number of senior officials including Wang Qishan, secretary of the CCDI of the Communist Party of China, and Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, also attended the meeting.