October 25, 2014 20:38 UTC

As It Is

China Charges Well-Known Anti-Corruption Activist

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story


Hello, and welcome to As It Is from VOA Learning English.
 
I’m Christopher Cruise in Washington.
 
Today on the program, we look at the results of this year’s campaign by China’s new leaders to reduce government waste and corruption.
 
But first, we report on charges against a well-known anti-corruption activist in China. 
 
Corruption in China -- and what the country’s new leaders are doing about it. That is the subject of our program today, as you learn everyday American English with VOA.
 
China Charges Anti-Corruption Campaigner
                             
Government lawyers in China have brought charges against a well-known anti-corruption activist. Caty Weaver tells us the activist -- Zu Zhiyong -- created a group that is trying to change the country’s political system.
 
Mr. Xu’s lawyer says the activist has been charged with “disturbing public order.” That is a common charge made against rights activists who try any kind of protest.
 
Mr. Xu created the New Citizens Movement. The group works within the system to cause political change.
 
The charge of “disturbing public order” comes months after Mr. Xu’s arrest in August.
 
The group has held small demonstrations to urge officials to publicly report about their wealth and property. It also calls on China’s citizens to fight corruption.
 
I’m Caty Weaver.
 
You are listening to As It Is, a program designed to help you learn to speak, read and write American English.

​Now we go back to Christopher Cruise, who looks at efforts this year by China’s new leaders to stop government waste and corruption.
 
Thanks Caty.
 
China Makes Progress in Fight Against Corruption
 
In his first year in office, Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken unusual actions against government officials. Many people have praised his efforts to cut government waste and remove corrupt officials from their positions. But others say much more needs to be done.

China's President Xi Jinping stands next to a Chinese national flag during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, Nov. 13, 2013.China's President Xi Jinping stands next to a Chinese national flag during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, Nov. 13, 2013.
x
China's President Xi Jinping stands next to a Chinese national flag during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, Nov. 13, 2013.
China's President Xi Jinping stands next to a Chinese national flag during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, Nov. 13, 2013.
Earlier this year, China tried Bo Xilai, a top political official. China broadcast the trial online for the first time. News agencies around the world reported on the trial.
 
China has also targeted state-owned companies in its campaign against corruption.
 
Hu Xingdou is an economist at the Beijing Institute of Technology. He says anti-corruption campaigns do not happen often in China, but they do happen.
 
Mr. Hu says that it is very rare for the ruling party to, in his words, perform surgery on itself and remove a tumor from its own body. But he says this campaign is not very different from those of the past.
 
Chinese government reports show the number of officials being investigated has not greatly increased from earlier years. But legal expert He Bing of the China University of Political Science and Law says the current campaign is stronger.
 
Mr. He says that up to 20 vice-ministers have been arrested this year. He says that, now, officials are not just talking about fighting corruption. He says they are arresting those they believe are corrupt.
 
The campaign has increased attention on officials who spend a lot of money. For example, in October, reporters noted plans by an official in Beijing to hold a large and costly three-day-long wedding for his son. Later, the official was removed from office.
 
Yuetan Street in Beijing is also known as Ministry Street because there are many government offices there. Sellers of costly Chinese alcohol say their sales have decreased by almost one third.

Over the past year, restaurants that often hold large parties paid for by government officials have suffered a decrease in business.
 
Economist Hu Zingdou says such economic problems are painful, but can be good for the country. He says it is not healthy for an economy to depend on government spending.
 
Mr. Hu says government spending is too high. He says official reports show the government spends 25 percent of its tax collections on administrative costs.
 
But Mr. Hu says some researchers believe that spending is higher -- at 35 to 50 percent. He says if that is true, about half of public spending is used to pay government costs.
 
Some Chinese citizens are pleased by the campaign against government waste and corruption. One man told VOA that the restaurant where he works is suffering because of the campaign. But he says he supports it anyway. He says it appears to be making progress in the country’s cities. However, he says investigators should look more closely at local officials.
 
The man says there is a lot of corruption at the local level. He says the leader of a village can receive hundreds of thousands, even millions, of Chinese yuan in illegal payments.
 
The government may try to fight corruption by showing citizens the spending plans for local and central governments. He Bing, the legal expert, says this could help the anti-waste and anti-corruption campaign.
 
Mr. He says that waste can be controlled if the public knows how officials spend money. And, he says, there can be control over the abuse of power that leads to the misuse of government money.
 
President Xi Jinping has brought attention to corruption. But at the same time, the government has further increased the punishments for putting information online without government permission. Experts say changing these rules will let citizens play a bigger part in preventing officials from abusing their power or wasting government money.

And that’s our program for today. It was written from reports by VOA reporters in Washington and Bill Ide in Beijing.
 
There are two more Learning English programs straight ahead -- “The Technology Report” with June Simms and “This Is America” with Kelly Jean Kelly.
 
And don’t forget to listen to VOA World News at the beginning of every hour Universal Time.
 
Thank you for spending some of your time with us today. Tune in tomorrow for As It Is with Steve Ember.
 
I’m Christopher Cruise reporting from Washington.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
12/23/2013 11:29 AM
my learning english is owe to you and your good programs .thank you so so so much.good job


by: Brad Young from: Moscow, Russia
12/23/2013 8:43 AM
Paragraph 18 is confusing: "President Xi Jinping has..."
Is there a tpyo on the word "increased?" What "rules" will
make it easier for citizens to play a bigger part...? Surely
not repressive ones!

In Response

by: Moderator
12/23/2013 5:25 PM
Mr. Young:

Thank you for writing.

The word “increases” in the original report should have read “increased.” We have made that correction.

President Xi Jinping has brought attention to corruption. But the Chinese government has increased punishments for putting information on the Internet without permission. Experts say that ending these punishments would let people play a bigger part in preventing officials from abusing their power and wasting government money.

We hope this helps explain our story.


by: cocoro from: Japan
12/23/2013 4:26 AM
My English pronousiation, vocabulary and reading speeds are so much improved.
You made an every day learning English fun and much easier, and helped me expand my views with the great contens.
It has a good influence on my work and my relationships.
Thank you !
my favorite topic is Mewer the cat of Mr. Ember.

By the way,
I have a problem.
Reacently web has been reqesting downloading an app for listening and I don't know how to do it on my windows 8.
I haven't been abled to listen to the news since then.
Could you help me when you have a time ?

The last but not the least, I'd like to express my
appreciation for your wonderful program for this year and a coming one.
With Season's Greetings and a Happy New Year !

E&OE


by: victor
12/23/2013 1:57 AM
A new cat is in the neighborhood

Learn with The News

  • Anti-Occupy Central protesters (L) try to remove a barricade from pro-democracy protesters on a main street in Hong Kong's Mongkok shopping district October 4, 2014.

    Audio US Group Rejects Claims It Incited Hong Kong Protests

    Chinese media have been criticizing the National Endowment for Democracy. They accuse the US-based group of providing money to and advising the “Occupy” street protest movement. The group says it takes part in normal cooperation with civic groups in Hong Kong. But it says it has nothing to hide. More

  • A rocket carrying the SpaceX Dragon ship lifts off from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 18, 2014.

    Audio You Don't Have to Be a Rocket Scientist to Read This

    "You do not need to be a rocket scientist." Americans hear these words often. People say them in schools, offices and factories. Broadcasters on radio and television use them. How did the expression begin? No one seems to know for sure. But you can find out by reading this Words and Their Stories. More

  • Audio Control of US Senate Depends on North Carolina

    U.S. congressional elections are less than two weeks away. A small number of races will decide if the Democratic party keeps control of the U.S. Senate or if Republicans will have a majority. One of the closest Senate races is in the state of North Carolina between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis. More

  • Freed Vietnamese dissident Nguyen Van Hai (L) is greeted upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport on October  21, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  The Vietnamese blogger, also known by his pen name "Dieu Cay," was handed a 12-year prison sentenc

    Audio Legality of Vietnamese Blogger’s Release Questioned

    Nguyen Van Hai arrived in the United States on Wednesday. Hai is one of Vietnam’s best known political bloggers. He has written about government corruption and the country’s territorial dispute with China. The United States was among several foreign governments to call for his release. More

  • A miner sifts through dirt for gold flakes at the Atunso Cocoase small-scale mine, Atunsu, Ghana, Oct. 16, 2014. (Chris Stein/VOA)

    Audio Gold Mining in Ghana Can Be Dangerous

    Small mining operations are a common sight in central Ghana. Here, mine workers dig deep into the earth in search of bullion. But not everyone returns alive. Earlier this year, six miners were killed when an earthen wall collapsed in Kyekyewere, a village in the Ashanti Region. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Oscar de la Renta Dressed First Ladies and Movie Stars

    Clothing designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday at his home in the American state of Connecticut. He was 82 years old. His wife said he died of problems related to cancer. Mr. de la Renta dressed American movie stars and first ladies such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton. More

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs