Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The cost of corruption

I can only imagine a Party cadre saying something like, "Well, what do you expect when you allow people to vote?" That's perhaps taking advantage of a stereotype and some ethnocentrism, but some people in China seem to learning quickly about the potential for corruption.

Buying votes in China village polls 'costing more'
In China the cost of bribing a voter in a grassroots election can be more than 100 times greater than it used to be, according to a report in an official newspaper that covers legal affairs.

The Procuratorial Daily cited a probe by provincial prosecutors in Hainan province in the south of the country…

The prosecutors in Hainan found that candidates were most likely to try to bribe voters in villages where there were projects likely to attract investment from property developers or other businesses.

Often, officials profit from corruption when they get the chance to become involved in big deals…

The report says villagers told the prosecutors they used to be paid the equivalent of $1.50 (£0.98) for their support at the ballot box.

Today, in some villages, the figure has swelled to $177…

Village elections began in the late 1980s. They are held every three years. Candidates are selected in a process that some say is not always open and transparent.

Chinese people do not get the chance to elect any officials more senior than village leaders.

Reports of bribery and other problems in so-called grassroots elections surface fairly regularly in the official media.

They help convey the impression that democracy is a flawed concept.

Many Chinese will tell you they do not think voting should be introduced more widely because they do not think it works in poorer rural areas.

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