BEIJING, China, May 25 – Chinese officials have been sent on prison tours visiting inmates including former colleagues as a warning against corruption, state-run media said Monday, provoking mockery online.
More than 70 officials and their spouses in central China’s Hubei province spent a day in prison this month “as an educational warning”, the government-published China Daily reported.
The trip provided them with a chance to meet 15 former government staff currently serving custodial sentences at the institution, it added.
China’s ruling Communist party has vowed to crack down on endemic corruption, with several former senior figures placed under investigation in recent years.
But there have not been systemic reforms and critics say that with tight controls on media and the judicial system the campaign is open to being used for factional infighting.
The newspaper cited the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist party’s top anti-graft body, as saying such prison visits have been organised nationwide.
The tours encouraged cadres to “be aware of wrongdoings involving corruption”, the CCDI was quoted as saying.
Also Monday, state-run media said cadres in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin had begun to list their Communist party titles ahead of government positions on their business cards.
The Global Times newspaper said the new cards were inspired by recent speeches from the CCDI’s chief Wang Qishan.
They stress the Communist party’s “leading role in governance. Officials are party members first, and then take their administrative duties as part of that”, it added.
Some Chinese internet users applauded the prison visit scheme on Monday, while others reacted with derision, some calling for the trips to be extended.
One poster on Sina Weibo, a microblogging platform similar to Twitter, wrote: “If you carried out a random check on these officials, most of them would belong in prison anyway.”