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Tackling corruption
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Further improvement is urgently needed in China's efforts to check commercial corruption, says an article in Chinese Business View. The following is an excerpt:

Lucent Technologies Inc has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice of the United States and the US Securities and Exchange Commission to pay $25 million to the two as a fine.

This agreement concludes a multi-year investigation into whether the communication equipment producer violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the US when it provided travel and other things of value to Chinese government officials and improperly accounted for the corporate expenditure of those officials in company books and records, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.

It is no longer news that multinational companies or foreign companies are involved in corruption cases in China. Figures show that foreign businesses and overseas trade were related to 64 percent of the 500,000 commercial corruption cases investigated in China in the last decade.

But many corruption cases involving multinational companies were not known in China until they were under investigation in other countries and Lucent is the latest example.

The US Department of Justice pointed out that Lucent had offered trips to government officials, senior managers in State-owned telecommunication companies and heads of their provincial branches.

If the US has such detailed information about the corruption, it may not be difficult for the Chinese justice authorities to find out who had participated in the trips and who had taken "things of value" from Lucent.

The absence of strong supervision and punishment from the Chinese side may pose huge negative effects to the country's efforts to check corruption.

China has stepped up its efforts in checking commercial corruption in recent years and it has also signed international pacts in this regard. But it has much to improve in the legal system as well as the enforcement of these legal texts.

(China Daily December 28, 2007)


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