China has announced plans to create a new anti-corruption agency, further exemplifying President Xi Jinping’s attempts to curb this serious issue in China. Although China established an anti-corruption bureau in 1995, staffing limitations and a weak organizational structure have hindered its effectiveness (Economic Times). The new anti-corruption agency will assist the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (China’s highest national prosecution agency) in rooting out corruption throughout the Chinese government.
Since Xi Jinping took power two years ago, he has promised reform and to hold officials responsible for their actions. Thus far in 2014, “China has sentenced more than 13,000 officials found guilty of corruption and bribery” (BBC News). Additionally, since President Jinping became president, more than 50 senior official have been investigated for corruption. This includes Zhou Yongkang, former domestic security chief, and Xu Caihou, former vice president of China’s Military Commission.
Although corruption is prevalent in governments around the globe, this issue is especially severe in China. It appears that as China attempts to weed out one corrupt official, another emerges somewhere else. It will be interesting to see if this new government agency can effectively begin fixing the corruption problem.
Sources: This story is reported in numerous publications. For more coverage, see stories in the India Times, the International Business Times, the Global Times (China), and BBC.
3 Responses to China’s New Anti-Corruption Agency
Sentencing 13,000 individuals in one year seems quite absurd. While anti-corruption efforts are to be praised, it appears that at least some of these anti-corruption efforts are also used to exact political vendettas and have impact on individuals who are not truly caught up in purposeful corruption efforts. Still, if China can overcome the widespread problem of corruption (which is one of the biggest hindrances for countries such as Afghanistan) then resources can be more efficiently allocated and growth increased.
Let’s think about the 13,000 figure: there are at least 7 million party members. Let’s say that 4 million are rural leaders with little or no ability to engage in corruption. So that leaves 3 million … and the 13,000 comes out at 0.4%. Now there are also numerous officials in various posts who are not party members (some simply can’t be bothered to join, one I know refuses to join because he refuses to sign a piece of paper renouncing his Christian beliefs). Given my sense that some entire arms of the party-cum-government are corrupt (you have to funnel business to your superiors to keep your job even if you don’t line your own pocket … but your superiors expect you to keep a cut), I’m not sure this is an eye-catching number. Nor are we told how severe the penalties are.
However, this is clearly advantageous politically to those pursuing corruption, because it enhances their power. The real question is whether they pursue allies as vigorously as those in rival factions.
The Chinese corruption problem is obviously quite large. I may be a skeptic, but the creation of another government agency seems like it will have little benefits in eliminating corruption in the Chinese government. What is to stop these new officials from abusing their powers and creating a facade of falling corruption while working for their own benefit? Corruption in government is a difficult issue to tackle and this may be the best approach, but it seems like the rewards will be very limited.