Spouses and children of officials to be included in China’s anti-graft laws
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Spouses and children of officials to be included in China’s anti-graft laws

IN its bid to quell the scourge of corruption, China is amending its laws to include business dealings involving immediate family members of officials.

This involved the spouses and children of the officials in an effort to further reduce opportunities for graft.

The move, announced on Tuesday, came in the wake of revelations in the Panama Papers document leak, which detailed family members of eight past and present leading officials owning offshore shell companies that could be used for money laundering or tax evasion.

Rules piloted in the financial hub of Shanghai last year will be extended to the capital Beijing, economically vibrant Guangdong province, the mega-city of Chongqing and the resource-rich northwestern Xinjiang region.

The rules ban the spouses of high-level officials from serving as managers of private or foreign-invested companies. Officials’ children and their children’s spouses are also forbidden from engaging in business in the administrative jurisdictions in which their parent holds office.

SEE ALSO: Panama Papers implicate relatives of top Chinese leaders

Last year, China’s ruling Communist Party punished nearly 300,000 officials for corruption. The party’s official watchdog body gave 200,000 officials light punishments and handed 82,000 severe penalties, including demotions within the bureaucracy.

The body known as the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection rarely explains its methodology or what evidence it considers, and no other details were given.

President Xi Jinping has pressed a massive nationwide probe of corruption among officials of all ranks, including those in the party, government, military and state-run industries.

Hundreds of thousands of officials were interviewed in the campaign, but only a small number were identified. An independent database listed 1,567 as having been investigated, expelled from the party or sentenced.

Additional reporting by Associated Press