High-level corruption is in the news with the recent downfall of former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai. But bribery on a much smaller scale is sometimes part of the risk of doing business in China. As part of an effort to stamp out unethical business practices, the government is opening access to a national database of bribery convictions. From a commentary on MarketWatch:
Among the ways that China is attempting to take a tougher stance on corruption is by opening access to its centralized database of bribery convictions. This measure, recently enacted by the SPP in partnership with other state anti-corruption agencies, allows for the public disclosure of a repository of individuals and companies convicted of bribery offenses.
As a result of the new access to the centralized databases of bribery convictions, businesses in these sectors now have the ability to check companies and/or individuals throughout all of mainland China that might have bribery convictions, eliminating the cumbersome task of checking individual provinces or regions.
Anyone discovered to be on the list will likely be disqualified for bidding on government projects. According to the SPP, more than 600,000 such inquiries were submitted in 2011. The national repository of bribery convictions will help overcome geographical limitations when investigating corruption cases and make the enormous number of public inquiries more convenient and, significantly, help to reduce and prevent bribery.
Companies expanding to China or hiring representatives in China must have a thorough insight into the legal landscape of Chinese anti-corruption laws which would determine the assessment of bribery risk, mitigation strategies and reactive measures if an issue were to arise.