Libmonster ID: UK-1255
Author(s) of the publication: V. V. OVCHINNIKOV

ALMOST NOWHERE DO THEY PUNISH BRIBE-TAKERS MORE HARSHLY THAN IN THIS COUNTRY

V. V. OVCHINNIKOV

KeywordsChinafight against corruption

Kang Zhixin, the former CEO of the China Nuclear Industry Corporation, was recently sentenced to life imprisonment and political rights with confiscation of property for bribery. The verdict emphasizes that the court showed leniency to him for cooperating with the investigation, because for bribes and embezzlement amounting to more than a million yuan*, capital punishment is imposed. Since 2000, about 10 thousand entrepreneurs and officials have been executed for corruption in China, and another 120 thousand received 10 to 20 years in prison.

FROM VICE MAYOR TO DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SECURITY

There is a lot of talk in China about the shooting of Beijing Vice Mayor Liu Zhihua. For 7 years, he headed the management of China's Silicon Valley-the Zhongguangcun science city in the northwestern university suburb of Beijing. And he was able to use for his own personal benefit the strategic turn of the Chinese leadership to create an innovative economy.

In addition, the enterprising official profited from the Beijing Olympics. Having made his mistress the owner of one of the construction companies, he gave her lucrative contracts for the construction of Olympic facilities and also took bribes for the allocation of land.

Liu Zhihua is not the largest of the capital's superiors who found themselves in the dock.

At the beginning of the reforms, the first secretary of the Beijing City Committee, Chen Xitong, was removed from the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee and put on trial. He was expected to become general secretary of the Central Committee, the successors of Deng Xiaoping, and was sentenced for usury to 16 years in prison.

Corrupt officials are now being sought and found not only among city mayors, provincial governors and their deputies, but also within the walls of the Chinese parliament. Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Cheng Kejie was convicted of extortion on a particularly large scale.

The former Vice Speaker was formerly the governor of Guangxi Province. He provided illegal services to entrepreneurs and collected $5 million in bribes for this. The exposure of the vice speaker led to a whole train of corruption cases in Guangxi. Guiyang city Mayor Li Chenglong, 48, was shot for embezzling more than $500,000.

The conviction of the vice speaker of the Chinese parliament is the biggest corruption case at the top after the aforementioned Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong was jailed for bribes. However, almost $8 million confiscated from him was embezzled by employees of the Anti-Corruption Department created in the Prosecutor's Office. I had to investigate the activities of 1,377 inspectors. 756 of them received party penalties, and 73 were brought to criminal responsibility. If the Supreme People's Prosecutor's Office has revealed such abuses of official position, then what can we say about other parts of the party apparatus?!

While the party and state were led by Shanghaist Jiang Zemin, many of his fellow countrymen appeared in Beijing. Nowadays, the Shanghai dialect is going out of fashion in the corridors of power. A protégé of the former leader, first secretary of the Shanghai City Committee Chen Lianyu, was removed from office and removed from the Politburo of the Central Committee. As established during the investigation, he was involved in embezzlement of about $400 million. from the Shanghai Pension Fund.

The elimination of corruption in law enforcement agencies has begun. Deputy Minister of Public Security of the People's Republic of China, General Li Jizhou, was exposed as a member of a criminal group involved in the smuggling of cars and oil products worth $3 million. The defendants in this case were about 200 officers of the police and customs of Xiamen.

During more than three decades of reforms, about a million employees of the party and state apparatus have been brought to criminal responsibility for bribery. However, even despite public executions, it is not possible to completely eliminate cases of collusion between entrepreneurs and officials on the principle of "your power is my money".

WHY DOES CORRUPTION FLOURISH?

Why switch from plano-


* $1 is equal to about 6.6 yuan (approx. ed.).

page 43

howling economy to the market has become such a favorable ground for corruption-a weed that does not lend itself to weeding? According to Yan Fan, Deputy Director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the lag of political reforms behind economic ones allows officials to hide the management of state property and natural resources from public control. This helps them turn the people's wealth into personal property.

This kind of abuse has taken on a variety of forms-from trading export-import licenses and lucrative government contracts to fictitious bankruptcy of enterprises in order to sell them for a song in private hands.

A negative side effect of economic reforms, according to Chinese scientists, was the process of" capitalization of power", that is, the transformation of official position into capital that brings dividends. Instead of playing the role of referees who monitor compliance with the rules of the game on the market field, officials sometimes assume the functions of players.

When I told a senior party official in Beijing about the scientists ' arguments, he told me that it is true that corruption cannot be completely eradicated, but it can be kept under control. My interlocutor drew my attention to the fact that the Chinese political lexicon does not include the word "oligarch". Power in China, unfortunately, sometimes becomes capital, a means of making a profit. But the Communist Party is firmly opposed to attempts to turn power into a commodity that can be bought.

For a bribe, officials provide services to entrepreneurs, but avoid becoming dependent on them. "The party will never allow the tail to twirl the dog," concluded my interlocutor.

Reflecting on all this, I think that by tightening penalties, corruption in China has been curbed, if not suppressed. In 1994, when I was working in China, financial pyramids flourished in our country. Followers of Mavrodi also appeared in the Middle Kingdom. This was, for example, an investment fund created ostensibly with a noble goal: to establish the production of disposable syringes in the country.

According to the canons of the financial pyramid, the founders of the fund offered depositors a fabulous income: 5% of the invested amount per month, i.e. 60% per annum. Money flowed freely, and most often from the heads of enterprises and institutions. If you delay your salary or utility bills for a month , you get a monthly profit of 50 thousand yuan for every million invested.

To the credit of the Chinese law enforcement agencies, they "saw through" the true nature of what was started in less than a year. Three of the pyramid's creators were put on trial and publicly shot. After that, no new pyramids were built in the country. And there were only 236 defrauded depositors in China, while in our country their number is measured in many hundreds of thousands.

...Should we adopt the Chinese experience of fighting corruption? I suppose not; excessive severity in the application of the laws has never completely and permanently eradicated crime. The experience of China, by the way, confirms this - there are no fewer corrupt officials there (although, they say, there are also more). And the European tradition of administering justice is also repugnant to such a harsh punishment for offenses not related to murder, rape, or treason.


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V. V. OVCHINNIKOV, IT'S HARD TO BE A BRIBE TAKER IN CHINA // London: British Digital Library (ELIBRARY.ORG.UK). Updated: 22.08.2023. URL: https://elibrary.org.uk/m/articles/view/IT-S-HARD-TO-BE-A-BRIBE-TAKER-IN-CHINA (date of access: 21.04.2024).

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