Chapter 17: The upward and downward spirals in China’s anti-corruption enforcement
China’s fight against corruption appears to have reached a stalemate. The fluctuation in the number of corruption prosecutions, which was a characteristic of the official statistics until the early 1990s (Gong, 1994; Manion, 2004, p. 89; Sun, 2004; Wedeman, 2004, 2005, and 2012), has virtually vanished. Instead, one sees flat lines. Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index (CPI) score on China remains flat; the number of disciplinary measures taken by the Chinese Communist Party (hereafter ‘CCP’ or ‘the Party’) against its members for misconduct in recent years has also levelled off; and the number of criminal prosecutions on corruption charges actually has been declining steadily (see Figure 17.1) (Wedeman, 2008). The stalemate is surprising given the ideological and organizational adaptation in the CCP’s fight against corruption. Ideologically, the CCP has enhanced its anti-corruption rhetoric and appears more determined than ever to control the spread of corruption. Organizationally, the CCP has increased investment in the anti-corruption establishment and provided additional financial and human resources to anti-corruption institutions. The high profile prosecution of high-ranking officials in recent years and the imposition of harsh sentencing, including execution, contrast sharply with the larger institutional inertia.
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