Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pretend this article is an FRQ

How well did Simon Denyer of The Washington Post answer the question? Anything irrelevant here? Anything left out?

Oh, and who do you suppose are the "experts and officials" who are worrying about the alleged deterrence of bribery?

Without corruption, some ask, can the Chinese Communist Party function?
As China moves into the third year of its far-reaching anti-corruption campaign, experts and officials are worrying that without the grease of bribes, projects are stagnating and the economy is taking a hit.

Across China, more than 100,000 officials have been disciplined since President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive began, according to the government’s own figures. As a result, many others are sitting on their hands, delaying decisions and failing to grant approvals for investment projects, either out of fear that they could be caught up in a future corruption probe, or because, without a bribe, they simply lack any incentive to act…

On Monday, Premier Li Keqiang demanded that local officials sign a written pledge to carry out major economic and social policies faithfully, saying that their dereliction of duty had slowed the economy… Some officials, he said, were “taking a wait-and-see attitude, being reluctant to implement major policies of the central government,” China Daily reported…

Graft has certainly not gone away, but the anti-corruption campaign has taken a toll on the sales of luxury goods and on business at high-end restaurants and hotels. Some karaoke bars, where officials were softened up with alcohol and women, have closed their doors…

The new reluctance among Chinese officials to act appears, as Li said, to have accelerated China’s economic slowdown, although the exact effect is hard to measure — not least because official statistics are not particularly credible…

Arthur Kroeber, head of research at consultants Gavekal Dragonomics… describ[ed] anti-corruption as “just one of a set of policies designed to slow GDP growth to a more sustainable rate.”…

Some economists argue that the anti-corruption drive will ultimately make China’s economy more efficient and lower business costs, just as similar campaigns in Hong Kong and Singapore were credited with doing in the 1970s. Foreign business executives say it could help level the playing field…

“The party knows it cannot totally clean the system because the problem of corruption has been around for many years,” said Li Yongzhong, a senior researcher working within the anti-corruption system.

“It’s a consequence of China implanting the Soviet system, with a concentration of power, and officials being appointed by their supervisors rather than elected. Without reform of the system, appointing new officials can only treat the symptoms. It won’t make any fundamental difference.”

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