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【#212】China’s Corruption Originates from Communist Dictatorship

Tadashi Ito / 2013.09.19 (Thu)

September 17, 2013

      The Chinese Communist Party has been shaken by corruption scandals. Its Central Committee is set to meet in November to discuss how best to combat corruptions. But it unlikely to come up with any effective measures due to a power struggle within the party. The Xi Jinping regime, inaugurated only last autumn, is likely to face a challenging autumn this year.

Xi's leadership is limited
      The Xi regime's anti-corruption campaigns launched late last year seemed to have been enhanced last February when President Xi vowed to "fight tigers and flies" alike.But those charged with corruptions have been limited to a dozen middle-class party executives. Investigations into corruption suspicions involving powerful politicians such as former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang have seemingly made little progress. Xi's anti-corruption drive has built on the popularity of Bo Xilai, the party's former secretary of Chongqing, who belongs to the Taizidang or Princelings group of senior Communist Party executives' children including Xi and enjoyed overwhelming public support through his anti-corruption and pro-Mao Zedong campaigns. Contradictorily, however, the Xi regime has charged Bo with alleged corruptions. As a result, the anti-corruption drive affected Bo's trial schedule.
      The trial for Bo started in Shandong Province on August 22 after a reported tug of war between former President Hu Jintao's faction calling for an early trial for Bo and former President Jiang Zemin's group seeking to delay the trial's start until next year. Xi apparently had hoped to start the trial after enhancing the anti-corruption campaigns and making specific achievements. But he has been pushed by the Hu faction to accept the early trial start. These developments indicated Xi's limited leadership.

Most corrupt regime in human history
      China features an extreme wealth gap where 0.4% of population close to 1.4 billion have 70% of gross national wealth. It is also human history's most corrupt country, where none is immune from corruption or injustice.
      For example, more than 90% of about 200 Central Committee members have their children study in Western and other foreign countries. Most of these members have overseas bank accounts and quite a few have passports issued in multiple countries. Chinese concerned about the present and future situation in China have been seeking to exit China. Senior bureaucrats and politicians have used various unlawful ways to accumulate assets, hiding massive money at their residences or remitting massive money to their overseas bank accounts. Recent media reports say 16,000 to 18,000 bureaucrats and state-run company officials have exited China to foreign countries since mid-1990s and that 80 billion yuan (about US$12.8 billion) in state assets have flowed out of China.
      Wang Qishan, secretary of the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, has recently issued a wide range of disciplinary orders. But they only represent minor measure including a ban on mooncake gifts. In order to eradicate corruptions, China is urgently required to enact a financial disclosure law for improving the transparency of income and create inheritance, gift and other asset taxes. The National People’s Congress has considered and shelved a financial disclosure law every spring. The proposed law’s enactment is not expected for the immediate future. Corruptions have originated from the Communist Party’s dictatorship. While information technology development has made it more difficult for the party to maintain its dictatorship, corrupt bureaucrats may not care about the future course of China.

Tadashi Ito is a former chief of the Sankei Shimbun Beijing Bureau