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Red envelope” gifts pose challenge to China’s anti-corruption

红包-1.png


Government officials must be alert for WeChat bribes, however small they may be, expert warns.

专家警告,政府官员必须警觉微信贿赂,不管金额大小。

"Red envelope" gifts via mobile devices, popular in China during festivals, have brought a new challenge in the fight against corruption.

过节时,手机红包非常流行,这给反腐带来了挑战。

Cheng Wenhao, director of the Anti-Corruption and Governance Research Center at Tsinghua University, said that passing money on the instant messaging tool WeChat "may be a disguised gift to someone close to officials who can help solve a problem for them".

清华大学反腐管理中心程主任说,通过实时通信工具微信汇款是一种变相送礼,以此要求政府相关人员帮忙办事。

The gift, often called hongbao or "lucky money", is a person-to-person transaction and seen as fun, "but it may become a breeding ground of corruption if we don't pay attention", Cheng said.

这种送礼又称红包,是一种人与人之间的交易方式,很多时候被视为娱乐方式,但是不经注意可能会成为腐败的滋生地。

Before Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, discipline inspectors in Fujian and Liaoning provinces issued a notice to government officials clarifying the ban on receiving "lucky money", according to jcrb.com, a website managed by China's top procuratorate.

根据最高检察院的网站jcrb.com,中秋与国庆前,福建省与辽宁省的监察人员禁止政府官员收红包。

Stricter inspections targeting bribery in cyberspace was also developed in Gansu province, in a move to implement the "eight-point rules" that were put forward by the central leadership to restrict bureaucracy, reduce red tape and formalities and ban the lavish use of public funds, the website said.

甘肃省严格监察网络贿赂,为实行中央号召的“八点原则 ”,来限制官僚主义,减少官样文章和形式,杜绝滥用公款。

Cheng added: "Although the amount of a transaction on WeChat is not big, 200 yuan ($31) each at most, it is not a small number when it is accumulated".

程主任还说:“尽管每次微信上的交易数额不多,每次最多只能200元,但是累积起来就不是个小数额了。”

Under the current Criminal Law, anyone offering more than 10,000 yuan ($1,550) in bribes faces at least a five-year prison sentence.

现行刑法规定任何人贿赂超过一万元都将面临最短五年监禁。

The invisibility of WeChat "lucky money" makes it difficult for disciplinary inspectors to trace, Cheng said.

微信红包的无形让监察人员很难追踪。

He suggested that inspectors should inspect every industry and keep their knowledge in technological fields up-to-date.

他建议监察人员应该监察各领域,及时更新自己在技术领域的知识。

Fan Hongmin, deputy president of the School of Public Management at Zhengzhou University in Henan province, praised the disciplinary inspection authorities' practice of forbidding government officials from receiving WeChat lucky money and electronic gifts.

河南郑州大学公共管理学院范副院长赞扬了监察机关对于防止政府官员收微信红包和电子礼物所做出的努力。

"The practice reflects that our anti-corruption work is catching up with the times and has no dark corners," Fan said.

范称:“这反映了国家反腐工作与时俱进,没有盲区。”

A spokesman for WeChat provider Tencent, who declined to be named, said that offering such bribes is absurd because the transactions can be tracked.

微信是腾讯旗下产品,发言人拒绝透露姓名,他称这样的贿赂十分可笑,因为微信红包交易可以追踪。

He added that so far he has not heard of any instance of bribery on WeChat.

他还称迄今为止,没有听说过微信上贿赂的例子。

Cheng, however, said that it is difficult to trace transactions because there are so many "red envelopes" every day, so it is necessary for government officers to be alert.

但是程主任却称红包交易太难追踪,因为每年都有很多红包,所以政府官员才需要对此警觉。

He said it is obligatory for discipline inspectors to order officials to link their WeChat accounts with their real-name bank cards, which should make future investigations easier.

他称监察人员应要求政府官员将其微信与实名银行卡绑定,这可以让之后的调查更加容易。

2016-06-23

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