As was discussed briefly in the Li book, corruption can be a problem within such a large, bureaucratic, government. It can spread through all levels, to as small as local cadre in rural areas to the most upper levels of the party. The USSR under Stalin faced the same problems. Such corruption undermines the Communist Party and its values, especially when signs suggest that the highest leaders, or at least their relatives, appear the most corrupt.
Current President Xi Jinping has launched an anti-corruption campaign, and a recent report gives interesting results. The campaign ordered that government officials cease using luxury services such as hotels and restaurants, and these business entities have felt the impact. 56 different five star hotels have begged to have the rating remove as revenues have plummeted. Another leading cognac brand has seen sales fall by 30%.
The campaign however, has proven difficult as President Xi insists on self-monitoring. The Central Committee for Discipline and Inspection serves as a government watch dog to crackdown on corruption. This area itself has also led to conflict when an American based watch dog exposed offshore accounts of government officials, going as high as the President’s family. Trials recently begun for activists who insisted on corruption reforms and monitoring.
Monitoring this reform process, now in its second year, should prove interesting. Corruption throughout the government is seemingly the status quo in the eyes of foreigners at least. Though charges have been brought against some highly ranked officials, it will remain an uphill battle for the Party to establish credibility and faith.