Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Corruption in the Party in China

A while back, I raised the question of whether corruption should be considered part of civil society in Mexico. Now, examine the topic in China.

The politics of corruption: Dirty tricks
A FAVOURITE instrument in Beijing’s ruthless court politics is a visit by the feared Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and a subsequent allegation of corruption…

The dirty tricks of palace intrigues are not exclusive to the palace, especially at a time when the hierarchy of the 80m-strong Communist Party is being shaken up from top to bottom…

Lower down the hierarchy, the corruption allegation, whether true or false, can be brutally effective in sweeping aside a rival. Honesty Outlook, an anti-corruption monthly publication in Sichuan province, claims false reports tend to rise sharply during transition periods…

While some cadres sling false allegations of corruption, others are buying new party titles from enterprising superiors. At promotion time supporters urge cadres to paoguan, or “run around for titles”—ie, make tribute-paying visits to higher-level officials. At the lowest level of power, in villages where party-rigged elections are held, some candidates buy their votes from the public to launch their careers. For the ambitious cadre, being promoted early and often is the only way of one day running a province. The more powerful the job, the greater the monetary value of your decisions, from selling land and licensing businesses to letting a family have more than one child…

These days the corruption allegation is a choicer method to destroy an enemy than the ideological attacks of old. “The excuse of fighting corruption helps legitimise purges,” says Jiangnan Zhu at the University of Nevada, Reno. It is handy too, she says, that corruption charges can be brought against nearly any official. Grey areas exist in every cadre’s daily work.

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