The Chinese government is strengthening its effort to monitor officials whose wife and children live abroad, as such officials are prone to abuse power.
The term "naked official" has been selected as one of China's top ten buzzwords of 2009 by Chinese linguists. It refers to the officials whose family members have moved overseas, while they themselves work in the country alone usually with the other country's visa in hand.
The "naked official" phenomenon has attracted great attention in China, as there have been many cases where such officials have been found to be corrupt.
Pang Jiayu, former vice chairman of the provincial committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in northwestern Shaanxi, had his wife and son emigrate to Canada in 2002, six years before he was sentenced to prison for 12 years for bribery and dereliction of duty.
Zhou Jinhuo, former director of the Industry and Commerce Bureau of east China's Fujian Province, tried to flee overseas in June 2006 when he found himself being investigated by anti-corruption agencies. His wife had emigrated to the United States previously.
"It is reasonable to cast suspicion over the uprightness and honesty of officials who have arranged their family relatives to live abroad," said Zhong Li, a lawyer of Beijing Maxpro Law Firm.
Prof. Huang Zongliang of Peking University has recently expressed that an effective way to curb corruption was to create a personal assets reporting system for officials.
Prof. Gong Weibin with the Chinese Academy of Governance, proposed that officials whose family relatives lived overseas should report the reasons why their family members went overseas, their financial sources and places where their family members live or work, so to better protect national interests and prevent cadres from corruption.
A communique, issued by the fifth plenary session of the 17th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) this January, stipulates that officials should report their properties and investments as well as employment of their spouse and children, and authorities should particularly monitor those officials who had family members living overseas.
The Shenzhen municipal government issued a regulation in November 2009, stipulating that "naked officials" were prohibited from serving as leading officials in major Party and governmental departments.
As the "two sessions", or annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top advisory body, are approaching, online surveys show that corruption remains the No. 1 concern among Chinese people.