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China steps up corruption monitoring

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rampant corruption has fueled domestic crime, questionable business practices
  • The fight against corruption is "persistent, complicated and arduous," communique says
  • Report: Last year nine officials were referred for prosecution on corruption allegations
  • High-level public officials already had to report other interests, China Daily says

Beijing, China (CNN) -- China will ramp up the monitoring of high-level public officials' family members to keep them from hiding profits from corruption, state media reported Thursday.

The government will increase monitoring of officials' spouses and children who've emigrated, China Daily newspaper reported.

Rampant corruption in China has fueled domestic crime -- including the spread of gangs involved in human and drug trafficking -- as well as questionable business practices that have led to tainted Chinese products being exported around the world.

The announcement was part of a package of anti-corruption measures issued by Communist Party leaders following a three-day meeting, China Daily said.

The fight against corruption is "persistent, complicated and arduous," leaders of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a communique.

Well-publicized government efforts against corruption have made limited headway.

Last year, nine high-level officials, including heads of state-owned enterprises, were referred for prosecution on corruption allegations, the newspaper said, citing the Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Those cases represent a sliver of corruption in China, where bribes, kickbacks and other illegal gains are paid to officials in small villages, as well as big cities. Some big fish send their ill-gotten gains and family members abroad, often to live on what's commonly known as "Grandfather's money" -- money embezzled or otherwise illegally gained through the Communist Party.

Under a 2006 directive, high-level public officials already had to report their real estate interests and other investments and the employment of their spouses and children, China Daily said. The communique said monitoring of such declarations would increase.

It also warned officials to not accept cash gifts, securities and payment documents, or hold wedding or funeral services in an effort to collect the cash presents that are traditional in Chinese culture.

In 2009, China ranked 79 out of 180 countries on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. The index, widely considered a credible measure of global corruption, reserves its lowest rankings for countries with the least perceived corruption. China fell between Burkina Faso and Swaziland on the index.