China needs own metrics for corruption fight

Updated: 2014-12-24 08:19

By Asit K. Biswas/kris Hartley(China Daily)

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China's anti-corruption net is catching "tigers", senior corrupt officials as well as "flies" or corrupt officials at grassroot level. On Monday, the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced that Ling Jihua, a senior Party official and national political advisor, is under investigation for "suspected serious disciplinary violation". Before that, other high-ranking officials, including former top security chief Zhou Yongkang and former deputy military head Xu Caihou, were also investigated for suspected corruption.

China's crackdown on corruption has been well publicized. But despite Chinese top leader Xi Xinping saying that he is committed to rooting out all forms of corruption, China has not been able to convince some Western analysts of the efficacy of the anti-corruption campaign.

In fact, Transparency International's 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index says the early stage of China's war on corruption is not registering well in certain metrics. This led to a 20-place fall for China in the global rankings placing it in the company of Algeria and Suriname and behind the likes of Zambia, Liberia and Panama. Regional peers have experienced similar volatility. Japan has progressed and regressed at regular cycles, although the country's overall trend in the past 20 years is positive. Even Singapore, consistently among the world's least corrupt countries, has slipped in recent years.

In contrast, the region's another big power, India, has seen a modest improvement in the 2014 index. Corruption has been a visible issue in India in recent years, and the country's performance has improved modestly over that time. It still ranks low on the list but has been steadily, if slowly, rising since the 1990s, so the recent surge may be due in part to higher expectations related to these and other events.

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