Ganbei: A Toast to Anti-Corruption

The Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report explains how the corruption of local CCP officials may be the culprit for the rapidly inflating price of China’s most famous spirit, Moutai:

With inflation running high and stock markets depressed, it is no wonder that Moutai, China’s most famous brand of the infamously potent baijiu liquor, has been elevated to the status of investment-grade luxury item in recent years. But according to one unexpectedly straight-talking communist party official [Shenzhen CCP Secretary Wang Rong], the sky-rocketing price of Moutai is also emblematic of another Chinese trend: rising corruption.

[...]“Moutai is so expensive. If there were no such consumption using public funds, it wouldn’t have reached its current price,” Mr. Wang said.

The most expensive category of Moutai, which is made in the southwestern province of Guizhou, now fetches a retail price of 2,000 yuan per bottle, up from around 1,500 yuan last year, the equivalent of many blue-collar Chinese workers’ monthly salary.

Mr. Wang’s tirade comes at a time of widespread public anger over the so-called “three publics” phenomenon, a reference to government officials’ use of public funds to travel abroad, buy cars for personal use, and eat and drink.

AFP covers President Hu’s recent remarks about the importance of combatting corruption. The article outlines the latest and most highly publicized cases of corruption in China:

[...]The most high-profile corruption scandal in recent years involved railway minister Liu Zhijun, who was sacked last February for “serious disciplinary violations”, wording that typically refers to corruption.

State media reports have alleged Liu took more than 800 million yuan (about $127 million) in kickbacks over several years on contracts linked to China’s high-speed network.

The public is increasingly intolerant of perceived official corruption, with a growing number of people taking to the streets and social networking sites to criticise the government and protest against pollution and graft.

Last month villagers in the southern province of Guangdong lived under police blockade for more than a week after driving out Communist Party leaders they said had been stealing their land for years.

A Xinhua article relays the rhetoric from a recent press release that came out of a plenary session of the CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI):

[...]The communique said China’s current fight against corruption comes while the international environment is severe and complicated, and the domestic economic system and social structure are undergoing significant changes.

The war on corruption has scored evident achievements, but prominent problems still exist, and although anti-corruption efforts have been intensified, corruption still occurs, it said.

The general situation also features people’s higher expectations for anti-corruption achievements coexisting with the fact that corruption cannot be eradicated in the short term, it said.

And for some video coverage, see New Tang Dynasty TV’s report on corruption in China:

According to official data, 140-thousand officials were investigated for corruption in China in 2011. Professor Hu Xingdou from the Beijing Institute of Technology says that based on the world’s average corruption level, 99 percent of the corruption in China goes unreported.

[...]Liu Kaiming from the Shenzhen Institute of Contemporary Observation says there are ways the Chinese regime could combat corruption if it really wanted to.

[...]Corruption is an endemic problem in China, with public officials and managers of state-owned enterprises having stolen an estimated $123-billion since 1990.

Also see previous coverage of Chinese corruption and the campaign against it, via CDT.

January 11, 2012 9:33 PM
Posted By:
Categories: Law, Politics, Society