Senior Chinese official urges tough scrutiny of quake relief resources

2008-07-25 06:22:08 GMT       2008-07-25 14:22:08 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese senior official has called for tighter supervision of quake relief to ensure the transparent use of resources.

He Yong, a member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remark during a Thursday teleconference here on the subject.

Quake relief is in a new phase, and reconstruction and resettlement of survivors has gone smoothly, according to He, who is also the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection deputy secretary.

Since large amounts of money and goods were received from many sources for a wide range of needs, departments at all levels should coordinate their work, clarify their own tasks and improve management and supervision to be sure resources were properly used, He said.

Misuse of relief resources would incur severe punishment, he added.

He also called for special investigations of large allocations and large projects, which could be breeding grounds for corruption.

The official also advised the establishment of an international donation response mechanism to address public concern.

The conference was presided over by Ma Wen, Minister of Supervision and deputy secretary of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC.

As of Thursday, the government disaster relief fund had topped 61.6 billion yuan (about 8.93 billion U.S. dollars), including 55.1 billion yuan from the central budget and 6.5 billion yuan from the local budget.

According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, domestic and foreign donations had reached 58.6 billion yuan in cash and goods by Thursday noon. Of this, 22.2 billion yuan had been forwarded to quake-hit areas.

The death toll from the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province and its neighboring regions stood at 69,197 as of Thursday noon, according to a statement by the State Council Information Office.

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