CHONGQING, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- A district in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality is pioneering a new budget transparency system to weed out corruption across its rural areas.
All village officials in Rongchang District must now make public their allocation of 10 major types of public funds, including basic living allowances, poverty-relief and disaster-relief subsidies, and house renovation grants.
In the past, village officials were known to have dipped into public funds with wanton abandonment, and allocated money to friends and relatives.
China has been stepping up its anti-corruption efforts since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, targeting both senior and grassroots level officials.
Across Rongchang, village officials and their direct relatives must now apply for public funds and grants issued by the government. All details of allocated funding must be posted on village bulletin boards twice a year and distributed via text messages, Wechat and on the microblog Sina Weibo.
All bulletin boards must display the names of all officials and their direct relatives in the village alongside any funding they have received. All officials must confirm the veracity of the information with an inked finger print.
"Also, their application forms should be checked by more than 10 departments before being approved," said Tong Fei, secretary of Rongchang's district commission for discipline inspection.
Tong said public supervision is extremely important, and all the bulletin boards include a phone number for the public to report any untoward behavior.
The new system has been welcomed by locals.
"In the past, village officials just wanted to line their own pockets, or be favorable to their relatives," said Liu Jifen, from Yakou Village. "Now that everything is out in the open, it's more transparent."
"The new system has reduced corruption," said Xu Jianbin, secretary of the Communist Party of China Xibutan Village branch.
In the first eight months of 2016, corruption cases in the district decreased 61.5 percent year on year, according to official figures.
"The mechanism should be rolled out to other local-level areas," said Fang Yong, a local discipline inspection official in Rongchang.