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Gov't wastes less, malpractice remains: report

CRI, June 30, 2015 Adjust font size:

China's top auditor says that in 2014, the central government cut expenditure on overseas trips, vehicles and receptions, otherwise known as the "three public expenses."

Chinese authorities have investigated more than 2,200 government officials for involvement in major fiscal fraud for the year of 2014.

Liu Jiayi, head of the National Audit Office says the majority of violations took place in sectors involving public funds, state assets and state-owned resources, such as land and mining.

"Serious violations often involve the officials abusing their power and colluding with outsiders. Illegal gains were discovered by officials and their close affiliates who profited from privileged information concerning state-owned resources, development plans and stocks. Malpractice was also detected in news media coverage and in attracting foreign investment where "under-the-table deals were sealed in the name of public welfare and government policy implementation."

Auditors have found that over 780 billion yuan originally earmarked for land transfers was misappropriated by crooked officials to fill administrative expenses gaps, used for granting loans, or used to construct new office buildings and venues.

Liu also says that government expenses have been reduced dramatically despite the problems.

"Auditing was carried out on 44 central government departments and 303 institutions and the financial budget of 221.35 billion yuan. The departments on the whole implemented the budgets for 2014 satisfactorily. The 'three public expenses' and conference expenses were reduced by 27 percent from the previous year. The reform on the use of government cars at the corresponding level was basically completed."

Finance minister Lou Jiwei says that the decreases were mostly the result of the ongoing frugality campaign.

"The decrease was the result of the 'eight-point rules' and ongoing frugality campaign launched by the central government, as well as the downsizing or canceling of delegations traveling overseas and stricter management of government vehicles and official receptions."

The "eight-point rules" championed by President Xi Jinping require government officials to strictly practice frugality and clean up undesirable work styles, including formalism and extravagance.