Updated: 2013-09-10 07:19

(China Daily)

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Fighting the scourge of corruption

Corruption plagues almost every country. It has become a challenge for every citizen and every generation. So people have to be vigilant against corruption at all times.

Some countries are better at fighting corruption and nepotism. Perhaps education is the best tool to fight corruption. Citizens need to be aware of their rights and duties, and civil servants should know that they owe the citizenry respect.

If civil servants are indifferent and behave like lords and masters of ordinary citizens, then it will be difficult to prevent or eliminate corruption. Public supervision over civil servants is necessary, because it will help people report officials' corrupt practices and bring them to justice.

Corruption seeps in through the interactions between government officials and businesspeople and, in some cases, between officials and citizens (China is one such case). In general, however, corruption grows with the increase in business activities: The more the business activities and the lower the civil servants' salaries, the greater the danger of corruption.

Corruption in pre-1980s China was probably confined to the interactions between the public and civil servants. Today the interactions between civil servants and businesses are the main source of corruption. In some Western countries, corruption plagues the interactions between big business and civil servants, but very rarely between government officials and ordinary people. China should learn from the experience of the world's least corrupt countries, such as Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, to eliminate corruption.

Seneca, on China Daily website

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(China Daily 09/10/2013 page9)