New laws target cheating, at office or in the home

Times Staff Writer

Chinese officials who have mistresses, fail to financially support their parents or abuse and abandon their families could be out of a job, according to a new set of ethics rules released by the central government.

The regulations, set to take effect June 1, cover a variety of other misdeeds, including corruption, beating up or illegally detaining citizens, using drugs, having sex with a prostitute and organizing “superstitious gatherings.”

There was no mention of how the sweeping laws would be enforced.

The decree was released Sunday at a news conference where Vice Minister of Supervision Qu Wanxiang said “the regulation will help consolidate the [Chinese Communist Party’s] ruling position, safeguard state power, improve ethical standards of officials and persuade them to adopt a clean, honest and down-to-earth work style to better serve the people,” the New China News Agency reported.

Beset by high-profile government scandals, Beijing has been trying to rein in corruption. The crackdown has ousted Shanghai’s previous party secretary, Chen Liangyu, who was accused of allowing cronies to use social security funds for speculative city developments.


In another case, a Yunnan transportation official who fled to Singapore in January with $5.2 million he allegedly received in bribes was arrested and returned to China.

Hu Xing was also charged with using his position to help relatives profit, visiting prostitutes and keeping a mistress, state media reported.

The new laws appear to target officials who flee the country amid scandal, by mandating that anyone who leaves China illegally or stays overseas illegally be fired. The New China News Agency said Friday that 300 fugitive government employees had moved into hiding overseas since 1998.

The report cited the findings of the Ministry of Commerce, which estimates that 4,000 Chinese officials suspected of crimes involving $50 billion have fled China since economic reforms were begun in 1978.

In detailing Sunday’s new laws, state media linked extramarital affairs with corruption, saying, “Many officials punished for taking bribes recently turned out to have lovers or mistresses.”

They cited the example of Du Shicheng, former deputy secretary of the Shandong Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, who was expelled from the party on charges of seeking bribes with the aid of his mistress.

The laws also target civil servants whose leadership leads to accidents, disasters, environmental pollution or “mass protests.”

Officials who fail to report or deal with major accidents, disasters and criminal cases in a timely manner will be punished or fired, according to state media’s account of the legislation. The same could happen to those who retaliate against whistle-blowers, state media said.