VIENNA, 15 February 2007 (UNODC) - The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, on Thursday welcomed the Chinese government's announcement that it will establish a powerful new corruption prevention agency.
"China sometimes gets a bad press for corruption scandals. Personally, I believe it also deserves praise for its increasingly active role in preventing and prosecuting corruption," Mr Costa said.
"China's booming economy is creating enormous wealth. It is also creating great temptations. Corrupt officials have stolen billions of Chinese yuan from health care, education, water supply and other projects which are essential for the people of China".
Mr Costa described plans to create a state-wide anti-graft agency, to complement the anti-corruption work of the procurator's office and the Ministry of Supervision, as evidence of the government's commitment to implementing the UN Convention against Corruption, which China ratified last year.
A keystone of that Convention is the establishment of independent anti-corruption authorities. China was a major force in the creation of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities which held its inaugural meeting in Beijing in 2006.
Such bodies, if given sufficient independence, resources and training, can be effective in preventing corruption and strengthening transparency and accountability in both the public and private sectors.
"The Chinese government has not only recognized its responsibility to stop corruption on behalf of its own people, it is also playing a major international role in combating this debilitating crime," Mr Costa added.
UNODC is custodian of the Convention against Corruption.