How to Fight China’s Corruption Cancer

An editorial at Caixin welcomes Beijing’s new emphasis on battling corruption, but argues that these efforts are doomed without effective rule of law.

The introduction of a sunshine law enjoys wide public approval, and would be a major step forward in the fight against corruption. The government must put it on the legislative agenda of the next National People’s Congress.

Corruption is an outcome of the unholy mix of power and money. The proper exercise of power is the key to curbing corruption. In a society governed by the rule of law, a gain in political power does not – and should not – come with a gain in wealth. But that is not how it is in China; power and money have become inextricably linked in its bureaucratic culture.

The challenge is daunting. But China can start with the basics. First, it must eradicate the conditions that breed corruption. This means improving its market and legal systems through comprehensive reform, to facilitate the transformation into a modern nation. This means abiding by the rule of law, and instituting a system that effectively targets corruption. This includes the features of a sunshine law, robust public and media scrutiny and an independent judiciary.

[…] China today is grappling with complex issues, but the problem at heart is quite simple. The fight against corruption depends on the rule of law. Without it, it’s all empty talk.

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