More than 160,000 Chinese officials were punished in 2012 for corruption. The figures were released by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection under the Communist Party of China. According to the presented report on the work of the Commission in the past year, total of 160,718 officials were penalized on charges of corruption over the 12 months of 2012, including 4,698 officials on senior management positions, one of whom was the party leader in Beijin Bo Xilai. The investigations led to the recovery of 7.83 billion yuans (1.3 billion dollars) to the state budget.
Central Commission for Discipline assured that it will continue to closely monitor and inspect all suspected of bribery, abuse of power, and corruption. In this regard, the Commission reported that in the past year police received more than 1.3 million notifications about similar offences. Results of the Commission audit formed the basis of litigation concerning corruption.
The largest corruption news in China in 2012 was an investigation into the activity of the secretary of the Communist Party’s Chongquing branch and Politburo member Bo Xilai. The investigation of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection revealed the facts that the politician used his official position, while occupying top-rank management posts, including the post of Minister of Commerce, for personal gain, actively promoted the interests of his family, and took bribes. At the present moment the case of the notorious politician, whose wife in 2012 was sentenced to death with a two-year delay for the murder of a British citizen – family friend of the Bos, was transferred to the prosecutor’s office.
The Day asked Andrii HONCHARUK, sinologist, head of the Department of Foreign Policy at the National Institute for Strategic Studies (NISS) to comment on the data on corruption reported by Chinese officials, explain how people are fighting this evil in their country, and what can Ukrainians borrow from the Chinese experience.
“On the one hand, this is evidence of that there really is a fight against corruption in the country, there are appropriate mechanisms for this fight and these mechanisms generate relevant results. On the other hand, there is a very significant stratification and the number of official dollar millionaires already exceeded one million people. For the country that only 20 years ago was a country of the extremely poor it is a great social test. That is why the officials who see successful businessman, who travel on modern cars and consume modern goods, have a great temptation. Thus, a natural process of establishing a society is taking place, when there are attempts of the ruling elite to bring things to order, and where at the lower level there is an everyday struggle between temptation and fear.”
And how does such peculiar trait of Chinese people as Confucianism affect this?
“One of the tenets of Confucianism is the respect for honestly earned wealth. But there is a substantial point of honestly earned. Therefore, if a person was caught guilty, there is no pity to him from the society. That is for sure. On the other hand, if a person has earned his wealth by honest means he is accordingly respected. It is quite significant that 95 percent of Chinese billionaires have earned their wealth in the domestic market, not by exports, but by filling the internal market and using those niches in the economy that provide such opportunities. These people earned their due respect.”
Do Chinese people respect the so-called eight immortal fellow heirs of Mao, who, according to Bloomberg, grew up as a new capitalist nobility of China, which owns all the riches of the country?
“First, we must not forget that the inner circle of the late Mao’s so-called gang of four, who were sentenced to death, including the second wife of Mao Zedong, Jiang Qing. Another thing is that the penalty was postponed every two years until she finally died a natural death in prison. But these men did not belong to the inner circle and were not among those, who induced Mao to the Cultural Revolution. And the fact that there is respect for the descendants of people who once ruled the country, is also one of the features of Confucianism. There is great respect to daughters of Deng Xiaoping. There is also great respect to the son of Hu Yaobang, who was a reformer and instead of being arrested was dismissed. He was a Chinese version of Alexei Kosygin.”
What may Ukraine implement from China’s experience in fighting corruption in our country?
“Fear is the only thing that can overcome greed, in other words, it is a punitive machine that works in China and officials there know that they can really be executed for a bribe of 200,000 yuan (about 30,000 dollars). We sometimes hear such an idea in Ukraine too that if officials were given bigger salaries they would not take bribes. However, no matter how much a person is given, it is never enough. And greed can be overcome only by fear. First and foremost condition in the fight against corruption is the inevitability of punishment. The mechanism must work. Society must see that there is such a mechanism and that it works and that among those convicted of bribery there are representatives of the top executives, including former members of Politburo. One may call it a struggle for power, but a fact is a fact: society needs to know that bribery is a crime punished by the state. In my opinion, it is extremely important for the development of the society to understand that wealth cannot be earned by any means, it must be earned only by legal measures.”