By Wang Yanchun, Yang Yang
Published: 2007-07-27

On July 18, the National Audit Office (NAO) released the 2006 central government's budget implementation review. Fifty-six agencies are involved with 46.8 billion yuan in "problem" capital, of which 35.78 billion yuan has been corrected. This is the most detailed budget correction report since the so-called "audit storm" began.

For one week, the EO had been gathering information on agencies in the report's list. But our questions were rebuffed, and blame-shifting and direct denial of responsibility left our journalists empty handed.


With funds designated for a beautification and expansion project, the General Administration of Customs constructed a row of new buildings. They are painted a cream-yellow, which clashes with the white walls of the original eastern building. There is a small plastic playground in the garden with planted trees. From the outside, there doesn't seem to be any other differences. The cost? According to the NAO report, 65 million yuan.

Our journalists repeatedly tried to contact the GAC's press office, but to no avail.

The following week, the EO contacted the Three Gorges Construction Supervision Bureau of the State Council, the Chongqing Immigration Bureau, the Ministry of Culture of the PRC, the National Supply and Marketing Office, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council. Regarding similar questions, all replied with vague answers such as, "we don't know" or "we aren't clear".


Who is responsible? Since Li Jinhua became director of NAO, the public has been fatigued by a stream of "audit storms". Nevertheless, there has yet to be a "blame storm".

Government Functionary Law states that if a senior government employee's mistake or breach of duty result in serious injury to the public, they should step down. If not, the government should order their resignation. Recent high-level resignations have stemmed from deference to this law, but none have occurred on the heels of the "audit storm". On July 4, the State Council discussed budget appropriations, saying that that not only should misallocated capital be paid back or corrected, but also that responsibility should be investigated.

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