Fight corruption with transparency

Updated: 2012-12-06 22:31


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China is being swept up in a storm of anti-corruption initiated by the new leadership of the Communist Party of China, which is being felt by the general public who are exposed to continuous scandals that are exposed in the mass media almost every day, says an article in China Business News. Excerpts:

Yet, China needs to improve the efficiency of its fight against corruption by establishing proper mechanisms — not through dealing with each case on an individual basis. The mechanism should be run by laws and ensure the public has plenty of opportunities to supervise the operation of those laws and for the power structure to be transparent. 

Several recent examples of the exposure of corruption has occurred on the Internet. People with information spread evidence of officials' malfeasance on Weibo, or on micro blogs, that caught the attention of other network users. Responding to mounting pressure from the public, the State discipline watchdog investigated quickly, verifying the facts and sacking the problematic officials.

The use of the Internet is an indication of how the people with damning evidence are reluctant to seek help from disciplinary authorities directly, because it takes the Internet to obtain a concrete reply. The Internet, which is only a tool, would not have become a symbol of righteousness and justice were it not for the slow, sometimes unsatisfactory responses from regular channels.

China should learn from conventional practice in its fight against corruption. For instance, making officials declare their personal property has proved an effective way to stop corruption. This system has already been practiced in some parts of China. But the public has always been kept in the dark because the process of declaration is only open to insiders.

Whether this system can fulfill its goal rests, to some degree, on how transparent the central authority intends to make the mechanism to the public.

The more light that is cast on the arena of power the less places corrupt officials will have to hide.

The source of that light is public scrutiny and judicial supervision. Eliminating the obstacles that stop that light from being cast will help China step into it's bright future.