Post-Mao China is an era of corruption as well as reform. Corruption has accelerated partly because the changes in the economy have provided officials with a much greater incentive and opportunity to embezzle funds or accept bribes. Taking advantage of the ‘double price track policy’ (jiage shuanggui zhi) in the 1980s, official-profiteers obtained raw materials for production and scarce goods at the government-fixed prices and sold them at much higher prices in the market. During the Tiananmen movement in 1989, student demonstrators indignantly shouted, ‘Down with official profiteering!’ but since then corruption has only worsened.
Chen Xitong (b. 1930), Politburo member and Beijing’s Party Secretary, was sentenced to sixteen years of imprisonment in 1998 for depriving the city’s coffers of an equivalent of over US$2 billion. His fall was presaged by the suicide of Wang Baosen (1935–95), the vice-mayor of Beijing, during his investigation for corruption. The two cases suggested that the entire Beijing municipal leadership had grown fat on ill-gotten money and bribes. Hu Changqing (1948–2000), Vice-Governor of Jiangxi, was executed on 8 March 2000 for taking 5.44 million yuan ($657,200) in bribes and possessing 1.61 million yuan ($195,000) worth of property whose origin he could not explain. Cheng Kejie, Vice-Chairman of the National People’s Congress and Governor of Guangxi, was executed on 14 September 2000 for taking bribes of an equivalent of $5 million.
He is the most senior person ever executed in the history of the PRC. All of them, by the way, had a mistress or mistresses.
The sentences signal a determination to eradicate official corruption, but the motives seem rooted more in politics than in the rule of law (fazhi). To complement China’s traditional ‘rule by morality’ (dezhi), which Jiang Zemin still emphasizes, some localities are even setting regulations that hold officials responsible, along with the perpetrators, for failing to prevent corruption-related crimes. When we look at the corruption cases exposed in China’s media, from the top leaders mentioned above to the case of Lai Changxing, who went from rags to riches by bribing numerous high-ranking officials for Guanxi and smuggling and then fled to Canada, which of these cases is not committed by officials themselves or not official-related? A growing number of corrupt officials have found safe haven in Western countries with their astonishing hauls. China’s leaders realize the dangers of corruption, openly and repeatedly acknowledging that it is a life-and-death matter. Ironically, some officials even embezzled Party membership fees and the funds for study material related to the propagation of Jiang Zemin’s ideology of the Sange daibiao (Three Represents). These cases, most of which are understandably not publicized, are considered ‘alternative corruption’ (lingyilei tanwu), according to an article in Xinmin Evening News (16 December 2001). The authorities face a stark dilemma, neatly summed up in a snippet of doggerel verse (shunkouliu): ‘If you control corruption, you’ll destroy the Party/If you don’t control corruption, you’ll destroy the State (Fan fubai wangdang/bu fan fubai wangguo)’.
Kwong, Julia (1997). The Political Economy of Corruption in China. Armonk, NY, and London: M.E. Sharpe.
Lü, Xiaobo (2000). Cadres and Corruption: The Organizational Involution of the Chinese Communist Party. Stanford: Stanford University Press: 154–227.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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  • corruption — [ kɔrypsjɔ̃ ] n. f. • v. 1130; lat. corruptio, de corrumpere → corrompre 1 ♦ (1170) Vieilli Altération de la substance par décomposition. ⇒ décomposition, pourriture, putréfaction. 2 ♦ Littér. Altération du jugement, du goût, du langage. ⇒… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • corruption — CORRUPTION. sub. f. Altération dans les qualités principales, dans la substance d une chose. La corruption de la viande. La corruption de l air. Cela tend à corruption. La corruption du sang, des humeurs. Il y a des terres où les corps se… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • corruption — Corruption. s. f. v. Alteration dans les qualitez principales, dans la substance d une chose qui se gaste. La corruption de la viande. la corruption de l air. cela tend à corruption. la corruption du sang, des humeurs. Il se dit aussi dans le… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Corruption — Cor*rup tion (k?r r?p sh?n), n. [F. corruption, L. corruptio.] 1. The act of corrupting or making putrid, or state of being corrupt or putrid; decomposition or disorganization, in the process of putrefaction; putrefaction; deterioration. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • corruption — cor‧rup‧tion [kəˈrʌpʆn] noun [uncountable] 1. LAW the crime of giving or receiving money, gifts, a better job etc in exchange for doing something dishonest or illegal: • He denies twelve counts of corruption. • The Chamber of Deputies voted to… …   Financial and business terms

  • corruption — Corruption, Corruptio, Violatio. Corruption totale d aucun membre, Sideratio. La corruption et ruïne de toute innocence, Labes innocentiae, et ruina. Par corruption, Corrupte. Par corruption de dons, Per sordes. Sans corruption, Inuiolate. Juger… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • corruption — I noun abuse of public trust, act of bribing, act of profiteering, baseness, breach of faith, breach of trust, bribery, complicity, conduct involving graft, corrupt inducement, corruptela, corruptibility, corruptio, crime, criminality, debasement …   Law dictionary

  • corruption — [n1] dishonesty breach of trust, bribery, bribing, crime, crookedness, demoralization, exploitation, extortion, fiddling, fraud, fraudulency, graft, jobbery, malfeasance, misrepresentation, nepotism, on the take*, payoff, payola*, profiteering,… …   New thesaurus

  • corruption — [kə rup′shən] n. [ME corrupcion < OFr corruption < L corruptio < corruptus,CORRUPT] 1. the act or fact of making, becoming, or being corrupt 2. evil or wicked behavior; depravity 3. bribery or similar dishonest dealings 4. decay;… …   English World dictionary

  • corruption — mid 14c., of material things, especially dead bodies, also of the soul, morals, etc., from L. corruptionem (nom. corruptio), noun of action from pp. stem of corrumpere (see CORRUPT (Cf. corrupt)). Of public offices from early 15c.; of language… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Corruption — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Corruption (homonymie). Carte du monde evaluant l indice de perception de la corruption selon tra …   Wikipédia en Français

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