Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, August 18, 2017

Looking for legitimate links

If government officials are so worried about China's anti-corruption drive that they won't accept bribes, what's a company that wants permits and information to do? See "Guanxi: The Chinese Cultural Concept."

Business losing out as Chinese officials strive to appear squeaky clean
Beijing is apparently starting to worry about an unintended side effect of its sweeping crackdown on graft – officials are giving the business community a wide berth.

A Communist Party journal even warned this week that when bureaucrats stay away from business because they don’t want to be targeted in the campaign, the result is just as damaging as corruption.

“[This attitude] has cast a shadow over normal government-business relations,” according to a commentary in the latest issue of Qiushi, or Seeking Truth...

Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a high-profile anti-corruption drive and introduced frugality measures for officials in late 2012.

Since then, the business community has complained that it has become difficult to communicate with government officials, who can now be punished for accepting gifts or attending lavish banquets…

Zhuang Deshui, deputy director of Peking University’s Clean Government Centre, said some bureaucrats were now simply unwilling to take the risk of interacting with businesspeople.

“But this means they are, to some extent, failing to meet the country’s needs when it comes to economic development,” Zhuang said…

He said this was not an ideal situation, since it was important for civil servants to have contact with the business sector so they could keep track of trends and issues.

“Without these communication channels, it’s hard for officials to address problems in the sector and it’s also hard for businesspeople to keep on top of the latest policies,” Cheung said. “There needs to be a balance so that officials can keep these channels open.”…

Still, some small business owners are happy that they no longer have to shell out for banquets. Ge Guoqiang, who owns a textile company in Zhejiang province, said the anti-corruption campaign had saved him more than 200,000 yuan (US$30,000) a year in entertaining local cadres…

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