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A Plea for Honesty Transfixes China

In fact, senior officials last month launched a major investigation into the Communist Party's discipline department after a Hunan province party discipline inspector was linked to economic corruption. Anti-corruption and discipline inspection departments have recently become particular targets for corruption investigators, Shao Daosheng, a retired professor and researcher for the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Chinese Communist Party, told reporters in Beijing.

In all, more than 20,000 corruption investigations have been opened in the first six months of the year concerning what the government considers to be job-related criminal offenses, according to Jia Chunwang , procurator general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. This represented a 6.9 percent increase over the same period last year, Jia said.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

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Investigators recently opened an investigation of the former head of Beijing's Capital Road Development Corp., the man who was in charge of the six beltways and other roads built to unchoke traffic in the capital. The official, Bi Yuxi, was being investigated on suspicion of accepting bribes from contractors during his time in office from 1994 to 2003, the Beijing Youth Daily reported Monday.

Highway construction has been a particular source of official corruption, according to Chinese prosecutors.

"There are so many corrupt officials," said a Chinese Internet user offering an anonymous opinion on Huang's letter. "How can we catch them all?"

But another Internet commentator, heeding the party discipline cited by Huang, said: "Such a letter! Is it approved by China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection?"

Huang said in the letter that early in his career, in Fuzhou city, he uncovered an illegal slaughterhouse being protected by local policemen. Nearly 20 officials were convicted, he said, after an investigation during which he received threatening letters and resorted to a bulletproof vest and bodyguards.

Later, in Lianjiang county, his efforts to investigate the real estate swindle were repeatedly blocked by officials higher up in the hierarchy in what became "a huge unseen net that always wanted to cover up this case," he complained. In all, he reported, the land-development fraud cost the local government about $8 million.

Despite his efforts, the main case was dropped recently after intervention by higher-ups, Huang said.

"For two years, I have felt exhausted fighting against rumors, pressures and sometimes mortal threats, but I never lost hope," he continued. "I have never given in, because I always believe that people's eyes are sharp and the flag of the Chinese Communist Party is always fluttering."

Researchers Jin Ling and Zhang Wei contributed to this report.

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