Clean Government with Chinese Characteristics

China News (中新网), via Enorth (Tianjin), Dec 29, 2010 –

China’s government published its first white paper “On Combatting Corruption and on Clean Government” today, detailing the Communist Party’s and the government’s resolute position on tirelessly combatting corruption, and their prersistent remedy of the situation by punishment (惩治), effective measures to prevent corruption, and to win the trust of the public by actual results.

The paper is divided into the eight chapters of “Unswervingly promoting the establishment of anti-corruption and clean government”, “Leading institutions and working mechanisms in establishing anti-corruption and clean government”, “Laws, regulations and institutions in establishing anti-corruption and clean government”, “Power control and supervision systems”, “Innovating anti-corruption by institutional reform”,  “Investigating corruption cases and based on the law and on discipline”, “Establishment of clean-government education and culture”, and “International exchange and cooperation in combatting corruption”, with about 16,000 characters combined.

The white paper states that corruption is a historical social phenomenon, a world-wide chronical disease, and a problem to which the public pays very high attention to. Combatting corruption and strengthening clean government are the Communist Party’s and the government’s firm positions. China upholds clean government at surface and root (标本兼治), a combination of both punishment and prevention, a focus on preventive measures, the establishment of a punitive and preventive system, a stronger emphasis on permanent remedy, on prevention, the building of institutions, a broadening of the fields of combatting corruption from its beginnings, shaping  highly efficient anti-corruption education and systematic advocation, and powerfully carrying out supervision and control, from a position which suits Chinese conditions, setting out on a road of combatting corruption and clean government with Chinese characteristics (走出了一条适合中国国情、具有中国特色的反腐倡廉道路).

“Systematic anti-corruption” has become a concept repeatedly referred to in recent years. The white paper points out that especially when the policies of reform and opening entered the 21rst century, China’s train of thoughts and its practise of reform had been the prevention and controlling corruption. In areas which easily bred corruption, and key links between them, systematic reform and innovation had established  organizations and mechanisms which were suitable for the requirements of the era, to fight against corruption from its beginnings.

The white paper elaborates on China’s system and mechanism of fighting corruption and of clean government. It also points out that China maintains the general plan of governing in accordance with the law,  pays attention to factors that standardize and guarantee laws and regulations, and promotes the legal shaping and standardization of anti-corruption and clean government. Based on China’s constitution, a set of laws and regulations concerning anti-corruption and clean government are defined, and based on the Communist Party’s rules, internal party rules are established, gradually shaping a system of effective laws and regulations with scientific content and rigorous procedures, a perfected and completed, effective on-the-job anti-corruption and clean-government system.


At present, supervision within the Communist Party, supervision of the People’s National Congress, internal government supervision, democratic supervision of [or by] the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, judicial supervision, supervision by the people and public opinion are forming a supervision with Chinese characteristics. Each supervisional body are independent of each other, cooperate with each other, and have become a united force.

The white paper especially points out that with the internet’s rapid development and wide-spread availability, supervision by the internet had increasingly become a method with rapid reaction, great influence, participatory method for public opinion. China pays much attention to the internet’s positive effect on strengthening supervision, its practical gathering of information regarding anti-corruption and public sentiment. [China] analyzes and deals with its work, improves the regulatory systems for reporting [corruption]. […] It also strengthens the management, guidance and standards of public supervision, protects the regular order of public supervision, to make it perform in legal ways.

To deal with corruption cases based on law and discipline is the most efficient tool to punish corruption. As China tackled corruption at different points in time with different features, it established the focuses of handling them. The white paper provides some numbers concerning punishment for corruption: from 2003 to 2009, People’s Procuratorates of all levels (各级人民检察院) investigated more than 240,000 cases of corruption,  bribery, and derelictions of duty; in 2009, 3,194 persons were investigated for their criminal responsiblity in bribery, from 2005 until 2009, the focus was on combatting bribery in business circles with more than 69,200 cases investigated, involving 16.59 billion Yuan RMB, and 7,036 leading cadres were investigated.

Concerning international cooperation in combatting corruption, the white paper points out that China attaches great importance to international exchange and cooperation, advocating an emphasis on cooperation on sovereignty, equality, mutual benefit, and respect for differences under effective principles, strengthening cooperation with every country and territory and international organization in charge, learning from each others’ experience, and together striking against corrupt conduct.

The white paper quotes a National Bureau of Statistics Bureau survey saying that from 2003 to 2010, public satisfaction with the fight against corruption and the establishment of clean government has steadily risen, from 51.9 per cent to 70.6 per cent, and that the share of the public that believes that passive corruption*) received varying attention rose from 68.1 to 83.8 per cent.

The article’s last three paragraphs acknowledge that the tasks in fighting against corruption remained onerous, that party and government understood the long-term and difficult nature of it, that public confidence would be gained by achieving the goal of clean government, but that China was fully capable of reducing corruption to the lowest extent.


*) the definition of passive corruption (消极腐败) isn’t necessarily about taking, rather than giving bribes. It frequently refers to authorities and departments which put their own interest before that of the public by excessive buildings, overstaffing (which in turn increases the risk of active corruption), bureaucracy (官僚主义), by wasting public means and resources (铺张浪费), and cronyism in recruitment or factionalism (宗派主义). Many of these definitions have been used since the Mao era.


White paper, full text (in English), Xinhua, Dec 29, 2010
Land Disputes worst Problem, AFP, December 16, 2010
Reform without Zijiren, October 5, 2009


3 Responses to “Clean Government with Chinese Characteristics”

  1. Hi JR,
    Recently I came across this article in Malaysia paper..

    maybe of your interest.


  2. I think Rockefeller and Yap are too small a database to do an inter-civilizational comparison – and the US financial world is only partly something I’d like to learn from. 😉
    But I do agree with the second half of the article’s last line.
    Happy new year, Woody, and thanks for the link.



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