In order to curb the stream of unauthorized emigration by Chinese provincial officials and prevent them from leaving the country, Chinese authorities are confiscating their passports.
During June, authorities in several Chinese provinces have confiscated local officials’ passports, and many “naked-officials” are being investigated.
In Tieling of Liaoning Province, all officials above deputy section level were required to turn in their passports to the local government. Any official who plans to go abroad will have to first get approval “from above.”
Travel Agencies Notice Business Decline
One immediate consequence of this new policy is that travel agencies are experiencing a drastic decrease in business.
A travel agency in Tieling, who gave her name as Ms. Liu, told the Epoch Times: “All civil servants must have their passports kept by a department in the city government. If he or she wants to go abroad, there must be a good justification. Even when someone wants to travel abroad as a tourist, he has to report to his superiors to be able to obtain permission to get his passport back.”
Ms. Tian, another agent at the same travel agency shared her opinion why the new policy was implemented. “When confiscating the passports, authorities used the excuse of preventing people from using public funds for travelling,” she said. “In fact, they are afraid that the officials may never return to China when having a chance to go abroad. We heard a long time ago that the government might take such action.”
Travel agencies in Tieling have suffered substantial losses, according to Ms. Yang who works at Feiyang Travel Agency. “Starting from the beginning of this year, very few public servants can travel around,” she told Epoch Times.
Mr. Li, a Bureau-level official in Changchun, Jilin Province, told Epoch Times that authorities issued a notice saying officials must report to their superiors to get approval before going abroad, regardless of which country they plan to go to. Local officials are able to keep their passports, though.
A female agent at a travel agency in Changchun confirmed it with Epoch Times, saying, “Officials in Changchun must get approval from above and obtain official stamps from their work unit before they can start the visa application.”
Similar situations of officials being forbidden to go abroad freely exist in many places in China.
A travel agent in Shenzhen, specializing in travels to the United States and European countries, told Epoch Times, it is a nationwide phenomenon that officials are forbidden to go abroad as they please. Even when going abroad as a tourist they have to go through approval procedures. Only publicly sponsored visits to foreign countries are not restricted.
In the past 20 years, China has seen a rising number of “naked officials,” who have sent their wives, children, and money overseas, and incidents of officials defecting from China. As a result, the Chinese communist regime has attempted to tighten control over its public servants. Starting at the end of 2008, numerous officials have had their travel documents confiscated.
Zhejiang Province demanded that all officials above deputy section level and all officials with the Public Security, the Judiciary, and the Procuratorate turn in to the local governments their passports and exit-entry permits for traveling to and from Hong Kong and Macau.
In September 2011, in Shanghai and the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, and Fujian, local authorities began to hunt down officials who had escaped and took measures to prevent officials from escaping.
Recently, authorities in Guangdong Province uncovered over 1,000 naked officials. But even when threatened with demotion, only 200 were willing to bring their family members back to China.
Zhu Xinxin, a former Chinese journalist, now a freelance writer, told the Epoch Times that with the increasing numbers of naked officials and escaping officials, the Chinese communist regime is now panic-stricken. That’s why there is this new policy of confiscating officials’ passports; it’s a mentality driven by fear, Zhu said.
According to Zhu, many Chinese people consider this odd phenomenon an indication of the Party’s end, the struggle before its final demise, and it will come up with any form of madness.
“The Chinese Communist Party is like a sinking ship,” Zhu said. “These officials regard their passports as their lifeboats. Now these lifeboats are controlled; they cannot escape any more. In actuality, the Chinese communist regime wants all these officials to die with it, together,” Zhu said.
Translated by John Dong. Written in English by Gisela Sommer.