Essay on Corruption and Anti-Corruption in China

Published: 2021-08-04
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Wesleyan University
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Argumentative essay
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From 1970,s Corruption in China has been on the rise especially. Some of its aspects are, high profiled scandals, like the smuggling cases of Chen Xitong and the yuan hub. In the year 2012, President Xi Jinping together with the secretary general of the communist party of China launched the biggest anti-corruption campaign ever (Rose-Ackerma et al.2015). Thus, this study seeks to acknowledge that this current campaign of is much different in my opinion from those of previous regimes. It is true that this campaign is characterized by efficiency in anti-corruption handling related cases. This has led to significant gains in the fight that is related to corruption activities.

Some of the aspects that make the campaign different are the bringing down of highly profiled individuals through the violation of the adequately established power-sharing norm, introduction of institutional and structural changes centering ICDC, the introduction of corruption-prevention mechanisms and targets of all levels of administration in the fight of corruption. The fact that the campaign has lasted long, four years is also a significant aspect of difference ("Tigers and Flies. How Two Years of Graft Probes Have Shaken China's Political Elite.").

By 2016, over 120 high ranking officials including those in the military and national leaders had been cracked down. The figures give and an average of 30 tigers' per year compared to 6 tigers per year as experienced in earlier campaigns since 1987 (Tigers and Flies. How Two Years of Graft Probes Have Shaken China's Political Elite).

The campaign has seen the detention of many officials who have been accused of financial malpractices in many sectors of the economy unlike in earlier attacks. In the year 2015, Zhou Yongkang who was the chief of the internal security apparatus and a former affiliate of the Politburo Standing Committee got sentenced to life imprisonment. Zhou Yongkang was accused of extortion which was amounting to almost 20 million US dollars. The same year also saw Xi Xiaoming being expelled from the Supreme Court on corruption allegations (Ross Ackerman et al. 2015). Official occupying government houses illegally were ordered to vacate with immediate effect. Public vehicles wrongly used were seized back to general and proper use. The year 2013 saw assets totaling to about 14.5 billion US dollars taken from Zhou Yongkang's family and friends (Jiang 2017). The norm implied that high ranking officials are immune to scrutiny and investigations as had been in earlier campaigns. The subsequent imprisonment of Zhou Yang helped a lot to break the norm (Roberts 2014).

The campaign has also led to structural and institutional changes especially those targeting the CDIC. Dual leadership was introduced, and it allowed a vertically unified system in approval of investigation and workers control. CDIC was also able to penetrate into the governance structure at both the central and the local levels. Its duties and responsibilities too became clear (Jiang 2017).

Xi's campaign not only fights corruption but has introduced mechanisms of preventing the same. Introduction of market-oriented reforms has helped in the reduction of rent-seeking opportunities (Manion, 2016). Xi anti-corruption campaign is also different from earlier ones in that it targets all levels of government, unlike previous attempts. All officials whether in top ranks or lower ranks have are subject to the crackdown on an unprecedented scale. It helps bring down the tigers and flies at the same time ("Tigers and Flies. How Two Years of Graft Probes Have Shaken China's Political Elite.").

The campaign has been running for over four years now, and there is no sign of it stopping (Jiang, 2017). Each year has seen a consistency of work with new policies and strategies being formed and implemented. The acts of the initial years have created a basis for benchmarking, realizing the weak points of the systems and improving on them (Roberts 2014). Earlier attacks were short lived and with minimal or no results at all. The consistency has also played a significant role in showing the government's seriousness thus alleviating possibilities of officials being corrupt and always being on their toes (Rose-Ackerman et al. 2015)

Is the campaign a result of factional politics or is Xi Jinping serious in rooting out corrupt officials?

Xi's attempts and effort in rooting out corruption and corrupt officials are serious ("Tigers and Flies. How Two Years of Graft Probes Have Shaken China's Political Elite). The results of the campaign are vivid as over the years, corrupt officials both in the top and bottom cadres have been brought down and prosecuted, public property recovered and significant reforms made in the CDIC (Wederman, 2004). The prosecution followed by the life imprisonment of Zhou Yongkang among other highly profiled officials in different sectors in enough show of seriousness.

Recently, China revised the regulations that govern the inspections of the internal parties. Political investigations will rise to a higher position, and they are required to maintain unity in the leadership (Wright 2015). The revision of the regulations aims at promoting a sense of transparency and improve the public's opinion on the campaign (Rose- Ackerman et al. 2015).

Critics argue that the campaign has political motives. It aims to consolidated Xi's power by getting rid of would be political rivals and opponents ("The Wen Family Empire"). The case of Zhou Yongkang raised eyebrows. The news that investigations are open and running against Sun Zhengcai who is the party chief in Chongqing have been met with lots of speculation considering Sun was a top raising politician in the party. The charges are not pegged on the constitution but instead on the party's regulations, and the judiciary does not run the investigations (Rose-Ackerman et al. 2015). The number of officials from the ruling party who have been investigated and disciplined is minimal compared to individuals with different political affiliations. The probability of them being potential targets is also very low (Manion 2016).

Another subject of criticism is the media's exclusion from the investigations. News of officials under scrutiny only come to an eye of the public when all findings are done. That is when the media is allowed to broadcast the news. The reports that reach the people appear to have the same wording and format thus raising the question of their authenticity (Ross & Bekkevold 2016).

All in all, Xi's Campaign has made significant strides forward in trying to minimize if not completely eradicate the culture of impunity especially among the corporates and officials (Roberts, 2014). The results of the campaign have already started to manifest, with low procurement costs and improved predictability which in turn draws more foreign investments. Companies both international and local have been kept on their toes thus improving the public image and confidence on the government and corporates.


Jiang, G. (2017). Corruption control in post-reform China: A social censure perspective. Singapore: Springer.

Manion, M. (2016). Taking China's anticorruption campaign seriously. Economic and Political Studies, 4(1), 3-18.

Pan, Y., & Li, S. (2016). The Anti-corruption Campaign and Catering Industry in China.

Roberts, Dexter. 15 January 2014. "Xi Jinping's Anti-corruption Paradox." Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Available at

Rose-Ackerman, S., Lagunes, P., & Edward Elgar Publishing. (2015). Greed, corruption, and the modern state: Essays in political economy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub. Ltd.

"Tigers and Flies. How Two Years of Graft Probes Have Shaken China's Political Elite." South China Morning Post, 3 November 2014. Available at

"The Wen Family Empire," The New York Times, 25 October 2012. Available at

Wederman, A. (2004). The intensification of corruption in China. The China Quarterly, 180, 895-921.

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