China to Crack Down on Corruption, Again

Party Discipline chief He Guoqiang has announced a new five-year plan to rein in corruption, to be implemented after the looming 18th CPC National Congress. From Bloomberg:

“The work of constructing a system of punishing and preventing corruption has shown to be effective,” He Guoqiang, head of the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said yesterday, according to the People’s Daily newspaper.

The plan is part of broader efforts to burnish the party’s image before the once-a-decade leadership transition. China’s leaders are seeking to recover from a series of scandals including the downfall of former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, and Premier Wen Jiabao warned in March that corruption could endanger the government’s survival.

“In the past ten years, the more they fight corruption, the more plans and agencies they set up, the worse the corruption gets,” said Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore. “A truly clean government comes from the rule of law.”

The precise timing of the congress is not yet known, but He’s announcement and signs of tightening security in Beijing suggest a sooner-than-expected start next month, according to The Hindu’s Ananth Krishnan.

Xinhua’s report on the announcement shed little light on the next five-year plan’s specifics:

The spirit of the 18th CPC National Congress should be fully implemented in the formation of the next five-year plan to fight corruption, He said.

He said China has always paid great attention to fighting corruption and creating a clean government, adding that the country has created its own unique methods to combat corruption.

[…] The formation of the new five-year plan should be based on the results of the previous plan, as well as past experience, He said.

The government has much past experience to draw on. TIME’s Austin Ramzy pointed out a 2001 China Daily article promising that corruption would be under control within five years “as effective legal and structural measures become more perfect.”


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