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Anti-corruption can be everybody’s job|
Global Times | 2013-7-9 0:08:01
By Global Times
Former railways minister Liu Zhijun was given a suspended death penalty on Monday, which stirred up a new wave of discussions on China's anti-corruption campaign. The ongoing anti-corruption storm has had an increasingly powerful deterrent effect in China, with a regular stream of high-level crooked officials brought down. There is no denying that China is taking anti-corruption seriously. But we have to ask: Can the anti-corruption push bring a massive decrease in the crimes of bribery and the abuse of power?
This is the hope of the whole society, but some are not optimistic about it. There have already been many cases concerning high-profile corrupt officials ending in prison. Solely depending on punishment, including the death penalty, seemingly cannot deter those corrupt-officials-to-be.
Many advocate shutting power into a cage, and China has stepped up its exploration on institutional building in this aspect. Fighting corruption through institutions lights new hopes for clean governance in China.
However, worldwide experiences show that institutional anti-corruption is not the end of corruption. China needs to create more conditions for its anti-corruption work. It should mobilize public opinion, and improve the moral environment around the officials as well enhancing prevention and punishment at the institutional level.
In public opinion, corruption is an extremely terrible thing and stern standards for clean governance have been put forward. The anti-corruption storm in China could be regarded as the most violent one in the world, and a public opinion that is totally intolerant of corruption has been shaped.
But in daily life, people's attitude toward corruption is not as stringent as that in public opinion. For example, if a leader is competent and created good conditions for his staff, even he is exposed as taking bribes, he is not as strongly hated by the staff as by outsiders.
Some corrupt officials didn't hide their living beyond their means, since they didn't feel much external pressure. People's attitude depends on whether their personal interests are damaged, and is not out of unconditional hatred on corruption. Zero tolerance on corruption should not only exist in media and on the Internet, it needs to penetrate into small elements such as officials' secretaries, relatives and friends.
Currently, some officials aren't afraid that they will lose dignity or be despised once their corruption behaviors are disclosed. When the pressure on them is mainly from the discipline inspection authorities, and they don't feel they are in an anti-corruption ocean, they will choose to take chances.
Online anti-corruption brings extra deterrence to corrupt officials, but those exposed on the Internet are low-probability cases. Only when all people surrounding officials become active fighters against corruption can the situation be fundamentally changed.
Posted in: Frontpage Editorial