Corruption and Anti-Corruption in Reform China

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        Corruption and Anti-corruption in reform China

  Dr. Zengke He

  Introduction

  Corruption has become a major social and political issue in China since 1978when Chinese authorities began to implement the policy of "reform and opening".The public's outrages with the mounting corruption within the party organisationsand government institutions is an important reason for explaining that why thereare so many people participated in or supported the pro-democracy student demonstrationin 1989. After 1989 Tiananmen Square event, the new Chinese leaders have giventhe priority to the anti-corruption work on their agenda and strengthened the anti-corruptionefforts. But up to now, the corruption phenomenon is still very rife , and presentlyis seen as the second greatest public concerns(behind unemployment )。 The abilityor inability of "third generation" political leaders to successfully curb corruptionwill play a major role in their political survival. This article will focus on theanalysis of the extent, forms and characters of corruption in current China, itscauses and effects, and the anti-corruption efforts of the Chinese Communist Partyand its government. 2

  The extent, forms and characteristics of corruption in current China

  What is corruption? The notion of corruption varies with time and places. Accordingto Chinese official terminology , the core element of the definition of corruptionin current China is the notion of use of public power and public resources for privateinterests ('Yi Quan Mu Si' )。 This is a very broad definition, which can includea series of phenomenon and behaviours and vary with time. Consequently, it canbe adapted to include new forms of corrupt practice. Corruption in current Chinais often links with negative phenomenon and unhealthy tendency within party andgovernment departments. As a result , anti-corruption effort also includes fightagainst all of these phenomenon and behaviours.

  This definition has three features. First , the core element of corruptionis not 'abuse' or 'misuse' of public power via-a-via legal norms or social standardsfor private benefits but the very 'use' of public power for private benefits. Onthe one hand, this is a very strict standard for determining what behaviours canbe defined as corrupt since it can includes any behaviour utilising public powerfor private benefits. On the other hand , given that legal norms and moral standardsmay change with time, the definition may take some risks to exaggerate the extentof corruption or arbitrarily label some practice as corrupt.

  Another feature of this definition is the ambiguous of the term 'private interests'in contrast to "public interests" , i.e. the interests of whole nation and partyPrivate benefits include not only personal gains, but also the interests of workunits , departments and regions when they are given priority over public interests.

  Third , the definition leaves open the question of which the subject of corruptionis. It not only refers to individual public officials , but also can includes therelatives of public officials and retired public officials, and can also refersto some public bodies and their leaders (as legal rather than natural persons)。

  As mentioned above, in official terminology, corruption , "negative phenomenon"and "unhealthy tendency" are linked together. Although government officials andthe public generally agree on some practices as "corrupt" , there are fewer consensuseson other practices. Heidenheimer's three-category classifications system providesa useful framework for understanding both the Chinese categories and the areas ofconsensus and lack of consensus. Heidenheimer's framework includes three categories:(1 )。 Class A or "black corruption":The corrupt practices in this category,including graft , bribe, fraud, embezzlement , extortion, smuggling, tax evasion,etc., Constitute an important part of "economic crimes". Because they are obviouslyillegal and...
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