sansukong Post time: 2012-12-3 12:10
Is it because China is corrupt and hence is weak OR
Is it because China is weak and hence is corr ...
Behind every corrupt man
Global Times | 2012-12-4 22:40:04
By Liu Sha
Ostentatious displays of wealth have been the focus of public opinion in the fight against corruption. The photo shows a White House-style office building which is a local court in Wenling, Zhejiang Province. Photo: CFP
It is said that one official's power can become their family's power. This is why 50-year-old Deng Xinxiong gives lectures on corruption to partners of officials.
On September 19, over 400 officials' spouses attended a lecture held by the commission for disciplinary inspection in Sihui county, Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province.
"I have seen so many corruption cases in which an official's family collapsed not just because of the officials themselves, but also because of their family members who receive bribes," an inspector surnamed Yan from the commission, who is also the lecture's organizer, told the Global Times.
Yan invited Deng, a deputy director of Zhaoqing's supervision bureau, who has 11 years of experience in fighting corruption, to share some stories with the audience.
"I want those 'students' to know how bad the results of family corruption can be," Yan said.
A cradle of corruption
"A good wife should stay rational and keep her husband away from dirty money," Deng told the class, warning them that corruption goes hand in hand with mistresses and marriage crises.
Deng told the Global Times that he was not sure if two hours would be enough for them, until he saw the look on the students' faces as they heard previous corruption cases.
Figures show that in cases of corrupt officials, over 80 percent of the time the family members had taken bribes in the form of "red envelopes" or festival gifts, according to research posted on the website of the Procuratorial Daily.
The seventh amendment of China's Criminal Law in 2009 added that officials would be given criminal sanctions if their families committed the crime of receiving bribes.
Pan Xiao, former Party secretary of the Huadu District Committee in Guangzhou, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison in August, confessed that his third marriage changed him. "In order to please my new wife and her parents, I sought illegitimate gains," reported the Guangzhou Daily.
"My parents-in-law want to have their own business, so I made a trade with a businessman," Pan told the local court.
Pan helped a businessman, who invested a large amount of money in a hotel owned by Pan's father-in-law, become a deputy to the Guangzhou People's Congress, according to the report.
Pan's father-in-law was sentenced to eight years in prison as a price of receiving 500,000 yuan ($80,302) in bribes.
"Maybe Pan shouldn't blame all on his family, although I'm sure a vain woman could be a femme fatale," an official surnamed Fang from the prosecutor's office in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, told the Global Times, adding that many wives even push their official husbands to splurge money on fancy cars, villas and luxury bags.
Fang said that families contribute to corruption in other ways, such as covering up bribes. He cited the example of another official, Zhang Guohua, former deputy director of the Department of Land and Resources in Northwest China's Gansu Province.
Zhang traded government projects with contractors who bribed him and then transferred the money to his wife's bank account to cover it up. Five months after Zhang was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2012, his wife was also sentenced to three years in prison for receiving bribes in various forms.
Although she feels that education programs for officials' spouses are unnecessary, Hu Qiming, 36, a high school teacher in Yongzhou, South China's Hunan Province, started to experience changes soon after her husband was promoted to the local bureau of commerce.
"More businessmen are coming to visit us and offering gifts to my daughter. It looks like bribery but my mom always says it's never a big problem to receive a gift," Hu told the Global Times.
Jiang Ming'an, a law professor with Peking University, said the blurred line between a gift and a bribe is a problem. "Over 90 percent of corrupt officials, when reflecting on their past, would say they just received a minor gift from those who wanted to show gratitude."
Besides, most Chinese do not believe in "zero tolerance" for corruption, which always starts with accepting a free meal.
"If you want to get a government project, you have to be able to afford the tuition fee for an overseas college and cover all the air tickets for the official's kid," an experienced contractor surnamed Yue, who is involved in a road-repairing project in Shenzhen, told the Global Times.
Yue said that "gifting at the right time in the appropriate form" is something called "the rule of being an official."
"Although it can't be used as an excuse by officials to escape from punishment, it's true that whenever you become one, you have to take bribes to survive," Jiang Dehai, a professor from the Shanghai-based East China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.
These classes have been just one of a variety of "creative" methods local governments have used to tackle corruption, which are largely focused on education.
In Henan Province, local opera actors are invited to perform plays on corruption. In Jinan, Shandong Province, elementary school students were organized to create calligraphy works on clean government.
In Jiangsu Province, the disciplinary inspection commission holds annual exhibitions on anti-corruption. Videos of officials regretting what they had done are played repeatedly.
Ma Huaide, vice president of the China University of Political Science and Law, is not impressed with these efforts.
"We need an information disclosure system of assets and income as a foundation," Ma said. "Local governments need to accept full disclosure."
Yan attempted to expand the class, however, the disciplinary inspection commission in Zhuhai, which launched a similar program to educate spouses in 2008, is not supportive of this idea. "We did not see any obvious results after the lectures. It's hard to get rid of the temptation of luxury, and it's even harder to make someone's relatives betray them," an official from the city's supervision bureau said.