Posts tagged ‘Political corruption’

21/07/2014

To No End: Why China’s Corruption Crackdown Won’t Be Stopping Soon – China Real Time Report – WSJ

One major question hovering over China’s anti-corruption campaign – already the longest the country has ever seen — is when it’s going to wind down.

According to anti-corruption czar Wang Qishan, who briefed fellow officials on the campaign last week (in Chinese), it won’t be any time soon.

And the major reason for that may well be that Beijing hasn’t yet figured out how to end it.

Wang laid out the anti-corruption strategy in unusual detail during these meetings, supplying a road map that outlined where the campaign had been and where it’s now headed (in Chinese).

Beijing’s anti-graft crusade isn’t just a one-off initiative, but an extended battle which began last year, taking down, as President Xi promised, both high-ranking “tigers” and lower-level “flies.”

And it’s accelerating.  According to an analysis that appeared on the website of the People’s Daily earlier this month, from January to May this year, Wang’s inspection teams disciplined 62,953 people, an increase of 34.7% over the same period the previous year (in Chinese).

In his briefing last week, Wang conceded that the campaign didn’t start all that well.  Indeed, in the early stages of the campaign, Wang said, the sense among his inspection teams was that corruption was buried so deep within China’s political marrow that it couldn’t be defeated, only deterred from growing.  Party officials were only too comfortable with political business as usual, where bribes and personal connections overrode considerations of actual talent when it came to selecting and promoting cadres.

“Some localities and departments, as well as some party organizations saw the pursuit of honest government as not their main responsibility,” Wang said, adding that the only option at that point was to “not allow corrupt elements to gain a foothold” in the few institutions where corruption was not already omnipresent.

The tide turned, he said, when cadres were finally given political cover by Beijing to report on their comrades engaging in corruption, especially those selling access to government officials and offering bribes for promotion.  That routine had become worrisome to Beijing because unqualified and immoral officials were becoming policy-makers.

Moreover, Wang argued, by focusing on specific areas known to be rife with graft—such as land development and real estate projects, mining rights, and public welfare funds—inspectors showed skeptics and potential targets that this campaign was a serious effort to rollback misconduct.

So what’s next?

That’s the tricky part.  Punishing corruption is one thing; preventing its reemergence could be a far-greater problem.  As one Chinese analyst admitted despondently in the pages of the People’s Daily (in Chinese), unless the system is thoroughly reformed, there’s a good chance that “the rot will come back.”

Continuing to press hard against corruption seems to make sense if Beijing’s expanding fight against graft is finally starting to show success and developing the party’s legitimacy as a problem-solver on issues that matter to the masses. But there’s also concern about just how much longer the campaign can be maintained when, as the analysis above notes, there is “a danger of overdoing something, leaving some people in a constant state of anxiety.”

Fear is evidently freezing some officials from becoming more actively engaged in supporting Xi’s call for changes in how the government operates—a passivity that has led to complaints in the Party media (in Chinese).

And there’s a greater danger:  That this effort to tear down corruption is simply dealing with the existing problems and not doing anything about building a new way of decision-making.

As a leading Chinese commentator on the current leadership’s policies put it in the same People’s Daily essay, the real need is “to create a good political environment, allowing officials to devote oneself, heart and soul, to do things, and not focus on the small circle of relationships one has with one’s superiors, doing always what one is told to do.”

That’s an attractive vision, but one that would require a major restructuring of politics in China.

via To No End: Why China’s Corruption Crackdown Won’t Be Stopping Soon – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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21/04/2014

On the Fence: Will Indians Actually Vote Against Corruption, or Not? – India Real Time – WSJ

A report in today’s Wall Street Journal probes an important contradiction in the Indian electorate: People say they are fed up with corruption — but will they say it at the ballot box?

Political corruption is a defining issue in the national vote, which runs all month. The only issue that tops it is economic growth, according to a survey sponsored by the Lok Foundation. Indians rank political parties as the most corrupt institutions in the country, Transparency International says.

The Journal traveled to Karnataka to look at the parliamentary race in Shimoga, where B.S. Yeddyurappa — a seasoned politician who faces corruption allegations — is representing the Bharatiya Janata Party. Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is considered a front-runner in the race, denies the allegations.

From interviews with voters in and around Shimoga, two things are clear: Pretty much everyone knows about the allegations against Mr. Yeddyurappa. And pretty much everyone thinks all politicians are corrupt. As a result, many people said they will simply vote for the person who they feel will help him or her the most.

“Corruption needs to be eradicated,” said Manjula H.N., a young woman who lives in a village about a half-hour drive into the countryside.  But, she said, she is more worried about unemployment.

Bottom line: She was leaning toward voting for the BJP. “Yeddyurappa has done more good works” for locals than the other candidates, she said.

via On the Fence: Will Indians Actually Vote Against Corruption, or Not? – India Real Time – WSJ.

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10/07/2013

China Absent From Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report

WSJ: “How bad is corruption in China? Don’t ask.

That’s the answer Transparency International says it got from Chinese market research firms as it conducted a survey on the topic.

“We approached a number of different local survey companies, but they did not feel that it would be possible to implement a survey of this nature in China without omitting many of the questions,” a spokeswoman for the Berlin-based group said in an email response to questions.

On Tuesday, Transparency International published a report it had been touting in recent weeks as the “biggest-ever public opinion survey on corruption.”

Yet despite the breadth of its research – 114,000 people surveyed in 107 countries – Transparency International doesn’t mention China once in its 48-page Global Corruption Barometer 2013. A pull-down tab of country reports on the organization’s website skips from Chile to Colombia.

“It’s true that China is clearly the main omission in terms of the survey’s country coverage, but we still firmly believe the Global Corruption Barometer’s overall messages and results are globally relevant,” the spokeswoman said. “Every time we do this research we seek to find ways to include China, but it remains a huge challenge.”

Corruption is a common topic of discussion in China.

Communist Party leaders have regularly said official corruption is the biggest threat to the leadership’s legitimacy. In March, just hours into his presidency, Xi Jinping urged his new team to “reject formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, and resolutely fight against corruption and other misconduct.”

Market researchers say corruption is too sensitive to probe in significant depth, given China’s controls on all forms of domestic media.

Last October, the Pew Research Center said half the Chinese people answering one of its surveys said corrupt officials are a major problem.

Pew said it hired a Beijing firm, Horizon Consultancy Group, to ask dozens of attitude questions related to society and politics including, “Tell me if you think it is a very big problem, a moderately big problem, a small problem or not a problem at all: Corrupt business people.”

Transparency International’s approach is more blunt: it says it starts with the assumption that corruption exists everywhere.

For its Global Corruption Barometer report, Transparency International used a multi-question survey focused only on bribery, malfeasance and influence peddling. Its surveyors around the world began with the pointed query, “Over the past two years, how has the level of corruption in this country changed?”

One measure of China’s corruption is the outsider’s view. Based on that measure, China ranked 80th out of 174 countries in an index of corruption perception published by Transparency International last year.”

via China Absent From Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

28/06/2013

Exposure via internet now China’s top weapon in war on graft

SCMP: “The internet has become the primary tool for exposing corruption on the mainland, “removing a corrupt official with the click of a mouse”, according to a leading think tank’s analysis.

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In its Blue Book of New Media, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said that 156 corruption cases between 2010 and last year were first brought to light online – compared with 78 cases to resulting from reports in traditional media.

Forty-four cases involving disciplinary violations were first exposed in some form online, while 29 cases followed print and broadcast stories. Sixteen cases citing abuses of power were exposed online; 10 were revealed in traditional media.

Among the latest officials to fall from grace thanks to online revelations was Liu Tienan , a former deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Liu was sacked in mid-May, more than five months after an editor of the influential Caijing magazine used his microblog account to expose allegations against him.

The report said revelations online, and the rise in interest in public affairs the internet had engendered, were the main reasons more people were participating in anti-corruption efforts.

However, the report cautioned that such efforts still had a long way to go. Only five officials of above departmental rank were brought down via online exposures last year – just a fraction of the 950 officials of that level who were probed for crimes.

The mainland had 564 million internet users at the end of last year, including 309 million microbloggers, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. The Blue Book said the online community would likely exceed 600 million this year.

The new-media boom has posed an unprecedented challenge to Communist Party rulers, experts warned, due to the easy spread of information, including rumours. The report blamed the online rumour mill on governments’ declining credibility and growing concern on the part of the public.”

via Exposure via internet now China’s top weapon in war on graft | South China Morning Post.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/2012/04/26/understanding-social-media-in-china/

22/01/2013

* China’s Xi urges swatting of lowly flies in fight on everyday graft

Reuters: “Chinese president-in-waiting Xi Jinping on Tuesday took his campaign against corruption to the petty bureaucracy and minor infractions of lowly officials who are the bane of many Chinese people and businessmen’s everyday lives.

China's Communist Party chief Xi Jinping looks on during his meeting with U.N. General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December 27, 2012. REUTERS/Wang Zhao/Pool

Xi, in comments carried by the official Xinhua news agency, said it was just as important to go after the “flies”, or lowly people, as it was to tackle the “tigers”, or top officials, in the battle against graft.

“We must uphold the fighting of tigers and flies at the same time, resolutely investigating law-breaking cases of leading officials and also earnestly resolving the unhealthy tendencies and corruption problems which happen all around people,” he said.

Bureaucrats must not be allowed to get away with skirting rules and orders from above or choosing selectively which policies to follow, added Xi.

“The style in which you work is no small matter, and if we don’t redress unhealthy tendencies and allow them to develop, it will be like putting up a wall between our party and the people, and we will lose our roots, our lifeblood and our strength,” Xi told a meeting of the party’s top anti-graft body.

Xi called for “a disciplinary, prevention and guarantee mechanism” to be set up to prevent corruption, Xinhua said, though Xi did not provide any details.

Chinese bureaucrats have long had a poor reputation for laziness, a love of excessive paperwork and minor acts of corruption which infuriate the man on the street and add to growing mistrust of the party.

Since taking over as Communist Party head in November from Hu Jintao, Xi has vowed to root out corruption no matter how high it is, warning the party’s survival is at risk if it does not take the problem seriously.”

via China’s Xi urges swatting of lowly flies in fight on everyday graft | Reuters.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/2012/12/03/5515/

31/12/2012

* Report confirms blog’s power in fighting graft

This research report confirms what has been obvious for several years: the power of the Internet over formal communications channels.

China Daily: “Micro blogs, like the social networking site Sina Weibo, have improved authority’s efficiency in handling anti-corruption cases, but also pose challenges in distinguishing true from false, according to a recently released report by Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Public Opinion Research Lab.

Of the 24 widespread micro blog reports this year, nine have been confirmed as frauds, the report said.

“The micro blog plays a major role in fighting corruption nowadays, but posts online need to be carefully sifted to find what is reliable information,” the report said.

As more netizens become familiar with and participate in fighting corruption, more messages spread each day that await authorities’ attention, said Xie Yungeng, an expert in public opinion and new media at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

“A regulation should be established on what kind of reports discipline authorities should respond to and set time limits for their response,” he said.

“The new way of fighting corruption is testing the wisdom and ability of disciplinary bodies,” said Zhu Lijia, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Governance.”

via Report confirms blog’s power in fighting graft[1]|chinadaily.com.cn.

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