The Upward and Downward Spirals in China's Anti-Corruption Enforcement
20 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2011 Last revised: 18 Oct 2011
Date Written: July 11, 2011
China's fight against corruption appears to have reached a stalemate. The fluctuation in the number of corruption prosecution, which was a characteristic of the official statistics until the early 1990s, has virtually vanished. Instead, one sees flat lines. The stalemate is surprising given the ideological and organizational adaptation in the fight of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against corruption. Ideologically, the CCP has enhanced its anti-corruption rhetoric and appears more determined than ever to control the spread of corruption. Organizationally, the CCP has increased investment in the anti-corruption establishment and provided additional financial and human resources to anti-corruption institutions. The high profile prosecution of high ranking officials in recent years and the imposition of harsh sentencing, including execution, contrast sharply with the larger institutional inertia. This paper examines anti-corruption enforcement in China. The CCP is taking a hands-on approach in tackling corruption and appears determined to clamp down hard on corruption, as demonstrated by the increase in prosecution of large-scaled corruption cases involving top CCP officials and the institutional renovation, though limited and piecemeal. However, it is clear that the anti-corruption action is taken largely by the CCP's anti-corruption central authority, the Central Committee of Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI). The CCDI takes direct action because local anti-corruption authorities are unable and unwilling to play an effective role.
Keywords: corruption, China, Committee for Disciplinary Inspection, syndicated corruption, anti-corruption enforcement, Chinese Communist Party, procuracy
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14, K40, K41, K42, N45
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By Tom Ginsburg