Corruption hotline overloaded

2009-06-30 10:33

Beijing - China's new government corruption hotline was overwhelmed in its first week with more than 17 000 tips and an unknown number unable to get through on overloaded lines, state media reported on Tuesday.

The government invited the public and government insiders to help ferret out widespread corruption by anonymously reporting tips to the telephone and internet hotline launched on June 22, the China Daily reported.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate hotline is seeking information on crimes, including corruption, bribery, dereliction of duty, unlawful searches, illegal detention and illegally coercing confessions, it said.

In the first week more than 11 000 people called in telephone tips and 6 000 others reported cases on the hotline's website, 12309.gov.cn, the report said.

However, many more would-be whistleblowers may have been unable to get through.

The newspaper said only one in five of its calls to the hotline connected, adding the 24-hour web and phone service was staffed by only ten operators.

Callers who got through also had the option of leaving voice messages or sending faxes, the report said.

The bandwidth for the hotline's website will soon be doubled after it crashed on the first day, the report said. Currently it can accommodate 1000 visitors at a time.

So far, the toll-free hotline is accessible from 22 of China's 31 provinces, the newspaper said.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate prosecuted 33 953 civil servants last year after investigating 41 179 government employees, the report said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has repeatedly warned that corruption within the ruling Communist Party is the greatest threat to its legitimacy.

China experiences tens of thousands of riots - officially termed "mass incidents" - each year, many due to grievances over injustices committed by the police, government officials and others in positions of power.

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