Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

How to Fight China’s Corruption Cancer [Caixin] #China #Corruption

I am not sure if this really gets to the heart of the issue. The ‘problem’ of corruption for any Chinese is that it does not translate to corruption in their headspace.

China today is grappling with complex issues, but the problem at heart is quite simple. The fight against corruption depends on the rule of law. Without it, it’s all empty talk.

– – –

How to Fight China’s Corruption Cancer
Source – Caixin, published December 19, 2012

A sunshine law, an effective anti-graft watchdog and an independent judiciary must be put in place to address the country’s biggest political problem.

A new resolve to crack down on corruption is in the air. Since the Communist Party’s 18th National Congress, a number of senior officials have been accused of graft and sacked. This includes the Sichuan deputy party secretary, Li Chuncheng, who was promoted only last month to be a non-voting member of the party’s Central Committee. An anti-corruption campaign led by Web users is also gaining support. The government’s zero-tolerance attitude is winning praise, and it should seize the momentum to systematize its clean-up.

The corruption cancer affects the whole world, but it is particularly serious in China. As party leaders have often conceded, corruption is endemic and tackling it is a huge challenge. But the scale of the problem also means improvements are within easy reach: China could simply adopt some of the basic practices that have proved useful elsewhere. In particular, it should institute a “sunshine law” that requires officials to disclose their wealth.

Such a law is not hard to enforce; all that’s needed is political will. As many as 137 countries already have such a law, the World Bank says. Just this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said all government officials, from himself and the prime minister down, and their family members would have to declare their spending.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at the source.

China has considered requiring party officials to disclose their assets since the 1980s. The proposal was introduced in 1995 and has gone through four revisions, the latest in 2010. However, as it is, the scope for the reporting is limited to guidelines set by the central government and the State Council, and the disclosure will circulate only within the party. Some 20 cities have experimented with introducing such rules since 2009, but the law can’t go far without full government support.

The introduction of a sunshine law enjoys wide public approval, and would be a major step forward in the fight against corruption. The government must put it on the legislative agenda of the next National People’s Congress.

Corruption is an outcome of the unholy mix of power and money. The proper exercise of power is the key to curbing corruption. In a society governed by the rule of law, a gain in political power does not – and should not – come with a gain in wealth. But that is not how it is in China; power and money have become inextricably linked in its bureaucratic culture.

China set out in the 1990s to build a socialist market economy, but the transition has been slow. The government’s heavy hand in the market created many opportunities for rent-seeking. Meanwhile, political reforms have dragged on, and there is little oversight of office-holders. Inevitably corruption has grown rife, exacerbated by globalization.

The challenge is daunting. But China can start with the basics. First, it must eradicate the conditions that breed corruption. This means improving its market and legal systems through comprehensive reform, to facilitate the transformation into a modern nation. This means abiding by the rule of law, and instituting a system that effectively targets corruption. This includes the features of a sunshine law, robust public and media scrutiny and an independent judiciary.

China may also learn from other countries and districts. One useful tool would be an independent commission against corruption that originated in the Swedish institution of a parliamentary ombudsman. But this is different from the system of spies and informers deployed by the Chinese emperors of old. An anti-corruption bureau, though it also reports to the top leaders, is built on modern legal principles and operates strictly within the law. While the ancient Chinese court system degrades human relations, a modern anti-corruption agency builds trust.

In China today, the calls for such an independent bureau are growing louder. Given that the NPC is the highest organ of state power, perhaps a more appropriate example for China to follow would be the Swedish ombudsman system.

The anti-corruption bureau in mainland China’s public prosecution system is somewhat similar in mission and design to Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption. But the former is limited by its lack of independence.

In a mature legal system, the state’s power to investigate and prosecute is separate from the power of the judiciary. China’s public prosecution system itself, which has its origins in the Soviet model, is controversial and its future development is uncertain. It is better to have an independent body to fight corruption.

For the longer term, China must work towards having an independent judiciary, which is the key to rooting out corruption. The Roman Republic instituted first plebian tribunes, then layers of ombudsmen, judiciary officers and adjudicators, to check the powers of the government. But the system became so complicated that its military command fell into disarray and the republic collapsed. This is a lesson to heed. Through trial and error over the years, we now have the principle of the separation of powers, first articulated by the French political thinker Montesquieu. Judicial independence is a crucial link.

China today is grappling with complex issues, but the problem at heart is quite simple. The fight against corruption depends on the rule of law. Without it, it’s all empty talk.


Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Caixin, Chinese Model, Corruption, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Reform, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Uncategorized

2 Responses

  1. Godfree Roberts says:

    There is no such thing as an “independent judiciary”. It’s a misleading term. Who, after all, appoints and promotes the judges. Look at the USA, the UK, and Sweden. Behind all the robes and titles are highly compromized servants of the status quo and willing executioners of innocent men and women.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,575 other followers

East/West headlines of Rising China

East/West headlines of Rising China

About Wandering China

Click to find out more about this project

Support //WC

Support Wandering China now - buy a Tee Shirt!

Be a champ - Support Wandering China - buy a Tee Shirt!

The East Wind Wave

China in images and infographics, by Wandering China

China in images and Infographics, by Wandering China

Wandering China: Facing west

Please click to access video

Travels in China's northwest and southwest

Wandering Taiwan

Wandering Taiwan: reflections of my travels in the democratic Republic of China

Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Click here to view the Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Slideshow reflection on Deng Xiaoping's UN General Assembly speech in 1974. Based on photos of my travels in China 2011.

East Asia Geographic Timelapse

Click here to view the East Asia Geographic Timelapse

A collaboration with my brother: Comparing East Asia's rural and urban landscapes through time-lapse photography.

Wandering Planets

Creative Commons License
Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at Wanderingchina.org. Thank you for visiting //
web stats

Flag Counter

free counters
Online Marketing
Add blog to our directory.
%d bloggers like this: