China: Lunar New Year Without a Bribe?
Holidays are a time for gathering with family, eating and … corruption? According to the People’s Daily, “more than 80 percent of corruption cases occur during the holidays.” But this year things may be different. From The Christian Science Monitor:
This year, with an economic downturn clouding the New Year atmosphere, and millions of Chinese losing their jobs, the authorities recently issued guidelines on how government and Communist Party officials should behave over the holiday season.
“Officials should firmly build the idea of living a frugal life … and prevent extravagant behavior,” said the instructions from the Communist Party Central Committee’s Discipline and Supervision Department. “They are strictly banned from accepting gifts … from units or individuals with whom they have business relationships.”
Whether these exhortations will do any good – even backed by the threat that “the government will expose serious violations to the public” – is unclear. The government is always launching one campaign or another against corruption; a five-year antigraft plan was announced last June, suggesting that the five-point anticorruption plan that Premier Wen Jiabao had unveiled 18 months earlier was not working.