Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chinese Anti-Corruption Drive Nets Politburo Member

Article Response

By: Jeff Recero
Article Title: Chinese Anti-Corruption Drive Nets Politburo Member

            This article discusses a senior Chinese official who is being under investigation for corrupt activities.  This exemplifies that China is having serious obstacles when dealing with corruption. The senior Chinese official is Li Jianguo, the vice-chairman of China's parliament of the National People's Congress has not been officially charged yet, however it could represent the first time a high ranking official has been involved since President Xi Jinping's new drive towards anti-corruption processes. This shows how dedicated Xi Jinping is to getting rid of corruption within the government. He stated that anti-corruption efforts should target low-ranking "flies" as well as powerful "tigers". So far this drive has focused  on regional officials and this has been effective, as evidenced by the implication of Li Chuncheng, who is a official in the Sichuan Province. This push by Xi Jinping although overtly effective, might be covertly obsolete as the Chinese Communist party is beginning to take a larger role in determining corruption case outcomes and mandating the punishment. With this change of direction from a legally to politically based charges, and determinants, the party's power will grow. The result will be more overt attacks on "flies" and "tigers," creating a growing sentiment of anti-corruption among the public; however the covert effect will be a growing power of the party to target and poach "tigers" when necessary.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Chinese Corruption Continues, Despite President's Promise

Video/Article Response
By: Suzi Zambrano
Video Title: Chinese Corruption Continues, Despite President's Promise

            Executions of corrupt officials are occurring left and right, but what reforms are being passed to stop the end of corruption altogether?  Not many. Passing anti-corruption reforms is simply not the main agenda of government officials as many , such as Zhao Ziyang, believe that anti-corruption efforts may hamper the reform and economic development.[1] China’s way of governing has not become any more transparent at all and efforts are not being taking place to achieve this.  Corruption is so engraved within the system that it is simply seen as a tool of development for many.

            Corruption reforms are not being made in relation to business development and the misconduct acted on civilians is not being addressed either. As the video shows, regulations concerning consumer protection, judicial rights, and civilian rights are all lacking within the Chinese government. Forbidding people from protesting the obvious acts of corruption is not helping the cause of corruption as a whole. 
            China’s supposed new government cannot end corruption when the biggest source of their success, their people, cannot receive the basic human rights they deserve. It is obvious that the current anti-corruption campaign is inadequate even though Chinese authorities understand the seriousness of the level of corruption and the necessity of reform.

[1] Zengke He, 2000. Corruption and anti-corruption in reform China. www.elsevier.com/locate/postcomstud (pg 253)

Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2012

Response to Corruption Perceptions Index 2012
By: Thomas Monteon

China currently ranks 80th out of 174 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index 2012 with a score of 39. The ranking is done where the higher number scored is considered the least corrupt country, the top ranked spot is a three way tie between Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand with a score of 90. The countries with a lower score are viewed as being the most corrupt countries, and the bottom spot is also a tie between Somalia, North Korea, and Afghanistan. The work that Transparency International does focuses on a world view of corruption and the video above explains in more detail its goals and mission to combat corruption. Transparency International provides nearly two decades worth of ranking corruption globally. Since 1995 China has move up and down on the ranking but continues to be perceived as on of the more corrupt nation in the world according to Transparency International.

All information and graphics provided by:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Corruption in Chinese Culture: A Bureaucratic Legacy

Corruption Report
Title: Corruption in Chinese Culture: A Bureaucratic Legacy
By: Dario Ortega

            The possibility that corruption is perceived different in China than in western liberal democracies is worth studying. Could it be that corruption is different in other cultures? Could it be that the history of a certain society shapes that perception? Or is it that all people across various cultures, histories and regions perceive corruption in the same sense; studying Chinese history it would seem the latter is not so.
            China is one of the earliest bureaucratic nation-states on earth. Since the unification under the Qin dynasty, China was ruled by a centralized authority, the emperor, and directly under him were his elite scholarly officials and notables. These elites were granted legislative, administrative and judicial powers in order to successfully administer China as the emperor ruled. It was such a high honor to be chosen by the emperor to rule in China that people praised and revered bureaucrats. With this prestige and recognition from society, bureaucrats were more successful than merchants in accumulating wealth than merchants. It was here that the line between business and governing began to disappear. As bureaucrats became more and more powerful, and with that power more and more prestigious; the opportunities to make economic gains were prevalent.
            With these new economic opportunities came the use of bureaucratic office power to ensure wealth production. As bureaucrats were subject to the emperor’s will, their hope to remain in office depended on the satisfaction of one man. If the emperor deemed a bureaucrat a failure, he would be stripped of his title and office. Although this happens often in western bureaucratic systems, in China this ‘firing’ would have meant more than just cleaning out a desk. The Chinese bureaucrat would have been seen as the ‘one who failed the emperor’ and would have perceived such a fail as dishonorable. Society would have seen it the same way as well. So with this fear of losing everything, the incentive to gain as much wealth as possible was born. Since dishonor and a ‘fall from grace’ was a constant threat, every avenue that could be used to prepare for such an event was taken advantage of, including using the bureaucratic position to gain wealth.
            Considering the history of bureaucratic authority and prestige, is it unusual to think that remnants of these memories would not continue to hold true in a society that prides itself in its long and unique history. In contemporary China, there still is a centralized authority and there still is a bureaucracy which is respected. Culture and history are two things that the Chinese people continue to hold dear, and this respect to those values which make them particular remains a keystone of their identity. Since this culture and history connect an honorable public life as a means to ensure financial security, it should not be shock to other societies that the line between business and politics in China can be crossed over from time to time by those in ‘prestigious’ positions.

Ting, Gong. The Politics of Corruption in Contemporary China: An Analysis of Policy Outcomes. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1994.

Monday, June 3, 2013

America's Contribution to China's Corruption

Corruption Report
Title: America's Contribution to China's Corruption
By: Suzi Zambrano

            Two American companies involved in Chinese corruption scandals include Lucent Technologies and Diagnostics Products Corporation.
            Lucent forced Chinese executives in the company to offer bribes to officials in the state owned telecommunications company. Lucent also spent millions of dollars on approximately 315 on entertainment and leisure trips for Chinese officials. The expenses for these trips were improperly recorded in the company’s records and failed to provide adequate internal controls to monitor the provision of travel and other things of value to Chinese government officials.
            Between 2000 and 2003, Lucent also provided Chinese government officials with trips to the US referred to as “factory inspections” or “training” in contracts with its Chinese government customers. By 2001 however, Lucent had outsourced most of its manufacturing and no longer had any Lucent factories for its customers to tour. [1]  
            Diagnostics Products Corp gave out $1.6 million in bribes at state-owned Chinese hospitals. The bribes were paid from late 1991 through December 2002 for the purpose of obtaining business with these hospitals. DCP recorded these bribes in their records as “selling expenses”.[2]
            Foreign Companies doing business in China have to deal with the business culture in which bribery is common.  This makes it easy for US companies looking to expand their businesses to china to offend the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Therefore, it would be difficult to start business in china in a law-abiding way even if the wanted to. What does this say about China’s economic future? Will business and corruption in China continue to go hand in hand? Though 99% of corruption in china goes undiscovered, American companies committing acts of economic dishonesty in foreign countries is not as cloaked. Both these companies served justice, each paying millions of dollars in fines as well as subjecting themselves to years of criminal and SEC civil investigations.

[1] Department of Justice, 2007. Lucent Technologies Inc. Agrees to Pay $1 Million Fine to resolve FCPA Allegations. www.usdoj.gov
[2] Department of Justice. 2005. DPC (Tianjin) LTD. Charged With Violating The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. WWW.USDOJ.GOV

Saturday, June 1, 2013

"Is Zhang Dejiang Opposing Wen Jiabao?"

Video: "Is Zhang Dejiang Opposing Wen Jiabao?"

China: Social Media Tools Embolden Anti-Corruption Activists

Video/Article Response

By: Jeff Rocero

Video Title: China: social media tools embolden anti-corruption activists

            This video discusses how social media that are used by activists have helped to expose the corruption within China.  Social media plays a vital role in exposing corruption of the Chinese government.  This article discusses Liu Tienan who was exposed through an activist. Liu wields significant power in his position as deputy chief of the planning agency; he is in charge of basically managing the world's second largest economy. He was exposed by a microblogger, Luo Changping. The blogger stated such corrupted acts in which Liu Tienan have done such as accusing the official of lying on his CV, using his position as an advantage for his family, and threatening to kill his mistress, who apparently gave the blogger this information. This exposing of Liu and his corruption is a direct result of the anti-corruption activity that current President Xi Jingping is try to bolster up for the country. The exposing of corrupting by way of social media widely commented upon in official media and was held with a lot of praise and people continue use social media as a means to combat corruption. Web users have exposed Communist Party officials in recent months, blogging about such corrupt activities such as how they use their money to support their mistresses. Liu is the latest high-level official to be investigated for corruption since Xi took power and activists continue to be adamant in exposing high level officials China will be closer to becoming a more transparent government to the people.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Video Response: "Checked and Balanced?"

Video Review
By: Katie Cooke
Video by: The Economist
Video title: Corruption in China: "Checked and Balanced?" 
Video Link: http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2013/05/corruption-china 

            The question of this video is "Checked and balanced?". It got me thinking; China says they are going to start cracking down on corruption and that they are very serious about this. But being that they are a one party state, how do they go about providing a checks a balance system? We have seen a few pretty high up officials, such as Lein Tienan and Bo Xilai be removed from their posts and investigated for their corrupt activities, but why them? Is the communist party going to start prosecuting all senior officials who are found to be corrupt? Or like the video asks, are they just trying to "kill the chicken to scare the monkey?"[1] Are they just trying to use these people as an example or as a scare tactic hoping that the rest of the country will start taking anti-corruption laws more serious?
            Ai Ping, the vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee International Department believes that it is necessary to keep the government clean because it could be the life or death of the party if they do not. He says that “The fundamental way to fight against corruption is to design and reform our system so that there is no unchecked and unregulated power, then there would be less and less unauthorized power “[2] He does fear that as they try and fight corruption, there will be a group of people who will not take them serious.
            Yun Shou of the Overseas Young Chinese forum says “The corruption problem in China is a traditional one, and contemporary government officials are not immune to the influence of the traditional mentality.”[3] In order to crack down on corruption, mentalities are going to have to change before they can change the structure. Corruption has been bred into the minds of the Chinese it’s going to take a lot more than a few laws to fight it. It is going to take, after a mind change away to enforce and hold people accountable to the laws, even the most senior officials. They need to make sure that no one is immune to punishments of corrupt activities.
            It’s hard to know if what the Chinese are currently doing to fight corruption is going to be effective and if it everyone is going to be held to the same standard; more time needs to pass to effectively gauge whether or not they are going to work. My prediction is, that unless Xi Jingping and his regime start holding EVERYONE to the same standards and find a way to create an effective system of checks and balance, their anti-corruption policy is going fail and be ineffective. It's hard to fight corruption with more corruption.

[2] Chua Guan Cheong (More Checks and Balanceneeded to fight China Graft, Officials say) http://fcpablog.squarespace.com/blog/2012/11/9/more-checks-and-balances-needed-to-fight-china-graft-officia.html Nov. 9, 2012
[3] [3] Yun ZHOU, (Towards the Rule of Law in Contemporary China: An Educational Approach) www.oycf.org/ Persepectives  Vol. 3 No.1