The Chinese New Year which begins today is a traditional time for exchanging gifts but in modern-day China there’s a thin line between giving a holiday present and offering a bribe.
The government says graft poses a serious threat to its grip on power and has vowed to stamp it out. Almost a third of all officials convicted of corruption had taken bribes during the Lunar New Year holiday, Xinhua news agency said this week.
“When regional governments want to get a project or funds, they have to build good relations with central departments,” Li Yanqiu, a regional city representative, was quoted as saying by the International Herald Leader newspaper.
“So for representatives in Beijing like us, passing out gifts before Lunar New Year is an important task.”