Public Satisfaction on Graft “Within Five Years”

In the wake of anti-corruption crackdowns following the Third Plenum, the Chinese government has unveiled a five-year anti-graft plan to guide the Party’s fight against corruption. From Global Times:

“If the problems of work styles and are not handled properly, they will critically harm the Party, and even lead the Party or nation to perish,” said a five-year (2013-2017) plan on building a system to punish and prevent , issued by the CPC Central Committee on Wednesday.

All cases must be investigated and miscreants punished more severely to deter others, the plan said.

[…] “The report showcases the Party’s resolution in combating corruption in the next five years, focusing on both solving problems on the surface and eradicating their roots,” said Ma Huaide, vice president of China University of Political Science and Law.

Within five years, “public satisfaction should be achieved,” according to the plan. [Source]

The five-year plan focuses particular attention on graft cases that incite mass incidents and those that take place during the course of economic reforms. Reuters reports:

The lengthy statement was full of jargon but short on specific steps the party would take, only outlining areas that would get particular focus, such as protests and accidents like mine disasters which happen because of corrupt officials.

“Sternly probe and handle corruption incidents which are behind mass incidents and major accidents where responsibility can be laid,” it said.

[…] The commission also said the party would pay particular attention to corruption which happens in the course of economic reforms, which include the reorganization of powerful state-owned industries.

“Sternly probe and handle commercial bribery and increase punishments for giving bribes,” it said. [Source]

In line with measures to crackdown on corruption among “tigers” and “flies,” a number of university officials have been arrested or investigated for suspected corruption. Reuters reports:

Xinhua said on its official microblog that Chu Jian, appointed in 2005 as vice president of Zhejiang University in the eastern city of Hangzhou, had been arrested for “suspected economic problems”, a euphemism for corruption.

[…] Last week, An Xiaoyu, vice president of Sichuan University in the southwest, was placed under investigated for suspected serious discipline violations, another official euphemism for corruption. An was responsible for the university’s infrastructure construction.

Last month, authorities began investigating Cai Rongsheng, the head of admissions at Beijing’s elite Renmin University, also for suspected corruption.

[…] Another professor at Zhejiang University went on trial in March for embezzling more than 10 million yuan ($1.65 million) of research funding by fabricating receipts and contracts. He has yet to be sentenced. [Source]

At Sinosphere, detective novelist Qiu Xiaolong explores the issue of corruption in China in his latest Inspector Chen novel. Q and A from the New York Times:

Q. In your latest Inspector Chen novel, “Enigma of China,” you explore the phenomenon of Chinese citizens using the Internet to shame corrupt officials. What interests you about the actions and motivations of these citizens? What impact are they having?

A. The phenomenon of Chinese using microblogs to expose corruption is gaining unprecedented momentum. Like Inspector Chen, I understand why people resort to that. With the media controlled by the government, with the Communist Party’s interests placed above everything else, the Internet becomes the only alternative for people to speak out for justice.

[…] Q. Has your opinion on corruption within the party changed through the years? I recall you saying on your recent trip to Beijing that some readers believe that Inspector Chen has gotten more cynical through the years. Does this reflect your own sentiments?

A. Yes, my own opinion of these aspects has been changing. Like Inspector Chen, I was once optimistic about China’s reform, believing that political reform would eventually come with economic reform, and corruption could then be contained. While corruption exists everywhere in the world, “corruption with Chinese characteristics” has a lot to do with one-party authoritarianism, in which the ruling party has absolute power, unwatched and unchecked, with the media and law enforcement exclusively serving its interest. Now a lot has changed economically, but the political system has remained unchanged. [Source]

Some observers suspect that aspects of the current crackdown have less to do with corruption than with political infighting within the Party.