Who are the winners of anti-corruption drive?

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 15, 2014
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There is no doubt that corrupt "tigers and flies," cadres from the top to bottom ranks, are the losers in China's anti-corruption drive. But who are the winners?

Since President Xi Jinping assumed office, he has regarded anti-corruption as an issue that affects the Party's and country's survival.

The core of the anti-corruption struggle is to always maintain the Party's close relationship with the people and avoid being isolated from them, he said.

Now after more than 22 months since late 2012, the campaign is still going strong and likely to continue. Tens of "tigers" above the ministerial level have fallen, including a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC)Central Committee.

By rooting out some "bad apples," the vast majority of Party members will remain clear-headed and the Party's purity will be preserved, said Xin Ming, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

Xin said the campaign has reaffirmed the CPC's resolve to consolidate the trust of the masses, improving the Party's ability to run the country.

But the importance of the campaign is more than just its role in saving and strengthening the CPC. It is also about reversing unhealthy trends in society, such as the prevalence of unspoken rules and a gift-giving culture.

Officials have been freed from endless social activities, and ordinary people are finding it easier to get their children into schools without paying bribes to officials. Those who have suffered under the corruption culture have been emboldened to fight against it.

Xinhua reported earlier this month that restaurant owners in several places have demanded local governments pay their debts, which accumulated in the form of IOUs and at the cost of taxpayers.

Even the hairy crab, a high-end delicacy mainly enjoyed by government officials, saw its first price cut in 12 years in September and can now be easily bought by ordinary people.

Yang Weilong, president of a local hairy crab industry association at Yangchenghu Lake in Jiangsu Province, acknowledged that the price cut was connected to the ongoing anti-corruption drive, according to media reports.

In addition, the anti-graft drive is making it easier to do business in China. Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, said that the campaign is leveling the business playing field.

Joerg's comments reflect the fact that corruption in China is related to officials' unchecked power in setting commodity prices, project approvals and monopoly investigations. Without offering bribes, it is sometimes difficult to get projects approved, and such power mainly rests in various administrative approval items.

So it is no exaggeration to say that anti-corruption helps push forward Premier Li Keqiang's promise to streamline administration, delegate power to lower levels and slash administrative approval items.

Zheng Yongnian, a China studies expert with National University of Singapore, said that the anti-corruption drive is more than just netting "tigers and flies," but is also about giving reform opportunities to clean and honest officials.

"Rooting out corrupt officials and pushing forward reform measures are the ultimate purpose of the campaign," said Zheng.

Xin Ming, the professor with the party school, said that the campaign can help China avoid the "middle-income trap," a state of malaise featuring a widening income gap that afflicts many developing countries.

"A market economy should not be a corrupt economy, and China's economic growth is not achieved through opportunities created by corruption," said Xin, adding that the overall economy would be better without corruption.

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