China Tells Its Diplomats to Be Wary of Foreign Influence, Graft

(Bloomberg) -- China’s anti-graft agency warned the country’s diplomats to guard against complacency while carrying out duties, saying they face a high risk of being instigated into wrongdoing and may abuse their power.

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There should be a focus on “preventing and resolving major risks” in foreign affairs work, according to Zhang Jiwen, an official with the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. A lack of self-discipline and ethics, as well as nepotism in hiring and the seeking of personal gain are among such threats that have been identified, he wrote in a CCDI magazine article.

“Diplomatic and foreign affairs cadres are the main force in foreign affairs work” and serve at the frontline of exchanges with counterparts from other countries, Zhang said in the article published this week. “The risk of them being infiltrated, instigated and roped into corruption is relatively high.”

The article laid out key findings and advice from recent investigations. Zhang cited examples of wrongdoing such as officials receiving gifts and cash from business owners, using public funds for personal travel and giving out subsidies against regulations.

The warning came after China removed Qin Gang as foreign minster in July after just seven months into the job, without explanation. An investigation found Qin had an affair while serving as the US ambassador that could have endangered national security, the Wall Street Journal reported. Also unexplained was the ouster of Defense Minister Li Shangfu in October.

Relevant institutions must step up supervision and introduce regulations to limit risks and build a “firewall,” he said.

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