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Published: Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 10:45:01 AM
Updated: Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 10:45:55 AM

China rules out promotion for officials with family overseas

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese officials whose spouses and children have emigrated will not be considered for promotion, state media reported, in the latest move to crack down on pervasive corruption.

China has witnessed a series of cases where so-called "naked officials", the term for government workers whose husbands, wives or children are all overseas, have used their foreign family connections to illegally move assets or avoid probes.

"They belong to a high-risk group for corruption. Around 40 percent of economic cases and nearly 80 percent of corruption and embezzlement cases involve naked officials," the official Xinhua news agency cited Communist Party official Wang Huanchun as saying late on Thursday.

Xinhua said the revised rules had for the first time ruled out promotion for such officials.

The rules, unveiled by the ruling Communist Party's powerful Organisation Department, which is in charge of personnel changes, also state that promotions must place greater emphasis on "moral integrity".

Officials would only be eligible for fast-track promotion if they were "especially outstanding", the report added.

Those who have a "poor reputation among the public" will also not be considered for promotion.

"It further said an obsession with economic growth data as the only benchmark in evaluating a local official's performance should be avoided," Xinhua said.

"Greater emphasis should be put on their achievements in securing effective and sustainable economic development, people's livelihoods and society, culture and environmental protection."

President Xi Jinping has warned, like others before him, that graft is such a serious problem it threatens the party's very survival, and has vowed to go after powerful "tigers" as well as lowly "flies".

Xi said this week that the fight against corruption was grim and complicated and had to be solved quickly with "drastic medicine".

However, the party has shown no sign of wanting to set up an independent body to fight graft, and has arrested activists who have pushed for officials to publicly disclose their wealth.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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