Stalemate for China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

Corruption in China has considerably worsened over the past year says the latest rankings released by Transparency International.(Chacrebleu/Flickr)
Corruption in China has considerably worsened over the past year says the latest rankings released by Transparency International.(Chacrebleu/Flickr)

Bribery so prevalent in Chinese politics that anti-corruption measures could paralyze the system. Individuals who pay upwards of millions of Chinese yuan to buy government positions will see returns, in bribes, equaling a hundred or more times their initial investment. These expenses are seen as a means of securing wealth and power.

According to conservative estimates, approximately 400 to 500 billion yuan (US$65.3-81.7 billion) is spent annually securing government positions at the county and local levels, totaling some 6,000 to 8,000 individual bribes. The derived income generated by this corrupt practice is approaching some 4,000-5,000 million yuan annually.

Former Communist Party secretary and magistrate of Huating County in Gansu Province Ren Zenglu was sentenced to life imprisonment on June 18 by Lanzhou City Intermediate People’s Court. He was found guilty of taking bribes totaling some 9.9 million yuan, and for the possession of undisclosed property valued at 4.1 million Yuan.

The case has since grown to ensnare an additional 129 Huating County bureaucrats who served in various capacities at the county and local level.

On Aug. 14, Hefei Intermediate People’s Court heard the bribery case of Wu Po Liang, the former county party secretary of Xiao County in Anhui. The prosecution alleged that Wu accepted bribes 109 times during his tenure as party secretary which were worth approximately 2,000 million Yuan.

Amazingly, the case also involved an additional 66 bureaucrats who took bribes while serving in various county and local government positions. The impact on corrupt bureaucrats will be inconsequential if anti-corruption measurers prove ineffective.

Paradoxically, if oversight authorities truly want to crack down on corruption, then the nation’s political structure will become paralyzed given the sheer number of corrupt bureaucrats at all levels of government. From this point of view, the anti-corruption campaign is in a quandary.

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