Thousands of Civil Servants Take Corruption Quiz

TIME’s Emily Rauhala reports on a corruptibility test created by scholar Di Xiaohua, who first conducted interviews with forty-seven prisoners ”to get a better sense of what leads officials astray.”

Do you frequently face temptations such as:
a. Flattery, seldom being criticized
b. Dinner invitations and free gifts
c. Various kinds of sexual services

Do you agree with the following statements?
a. You should only accept money or gifts of less than 5,000 yuan ($825)
b. Every time I’m given a gift I feel very uneasy
c. I rarely give a second thought to the value of gifts or money that are given to me

[See more at Xinhua [zh].]

[...] The survey has already been used to test 2,000 civil servants, but their results were not publicly disclosed. The goal, it seems, is not “gotcha,” but personal growth. “The answers will only be known by those who set the test, but the test can act as a kind of self-education,” a local official told the press. That’s good news for nervous quiz-takers — although any venal official who couldn’t ace this test probably wasn’t on the road to ill-gotten riches. [Source]

Leaked details of government workers’ wages in one Hunan city recently gave a clue as to “what leads officials astray.” Salaries are low, even at the highest levels. Authorized perks and allowances go some way to offsetting this, but additional padding tends to come from the unofficial spectrum between gifts and outright bribes. Offbeat China notes complaints from many low-level civil servants that their usual supply of freebies dried up this New Year amid Beijing’s much-publicized crackdown on corruption:

“In the old days, the storage room at my home would be filled with goods. But this year, I even need to pay for fruits out of my own pocket. Even my son is complaining about the lack of benefits.” One city-level cadre in Jiangsu described how he and his family are struggling with a less-privileged life: “We never needed to keep cash at home before this year. After all, who’d need cash with endless gift cards and goods. Sometimes we had to give out foods and gifts to other family members to make room. This year, we need to pay for everything ourselves.”

A driver for a government official in Nanjing has also been impacted by the corruption crackdown: “Usually during the Chinese New Year holidays, people would flock to send gifts to the official, most of which would be stored in the trunk first. When I went to pick up the official, if he thought there was too much to take, he’d give me some. This year, the official almost got no gift at all. In turn, my ‘benefits’ have been significantly cut, too.” [Source]

Meanwhile, Xinhua reports, graft busters themselves are under increasing scrutiny:

On Tuesday, the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee publicized 10 cases of disciplinary or legal violations by police officers, judges and prosecutors.

“This sends a signal: the disciplinary as well as the political and legal systems are not a sanctuary [in China's anti-corruption campaign],” said Xin Ming, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

The cases include a Supreme People’s Court official suspected of taking bribes of over 2 million yuan (327,493 U.S. dollars) in exchange for intervening with trials; a prosecutor in central China’s Shanxi Province charged with taking bribes and failing to explain the sources of assets worth over 40 million yuan and 1.8 kg of gold; and a Ministry of Public Security director suspected of taking advantage of his position to benefit others, and accepting bribes of more than 2.23 million yuan. [Source]

See more from Reuters.

February 14, 2014 3:23 AM
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Categories: Law, Politics, Society