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Showing posts for "Corruption"

China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign: Old Wine in an Old Bottle

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Wang Qishan, now China's anti-corruption chief, attends a plenary meeting of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 8, 2012. Wang Qishan, now China's anti-corruption chief, attends a plenary meeting of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 8, 2012. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters)

Chinese leaders appear to have decided that the risk of a long slow death by “corruption cancer” is preferable to undergoing a high-risk operation of real political reform. The recent arrest of another batch of Chinese anti-corruption campaigners begs the question of how seriously Chinese leaders want to address the admittedly life-threatening corruption problem.  Former Chinese president Hu Jintao and his successor Xi Jinping made headlines last November by declaring that if the Communist Party failed to address corruption, it could lead to the death of not only the Party but also the Chinese state. To demonstrate the seriousness of the problem, Xi Jinping even appointed one of the Party’s most capable officials, Wang Qishan, to lead the anti-corruption effort. Read more »

Responding to Disease Outbreaks: Is China’s Move Toward Greater Transparency Irreversible?

by Yanzhong Huang
Passengers walk past temperature detectors. Passengers walk past temperature detectors. (Stringer Taiwan/Courtesy Reuters)

Yesterday, I testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) at the  “Food and Drug Safety, Public Health, and the Environment in China” hearing. My testimony focused on China’s response to public health emergencies. As the H7N9 virus appears to be burning itself out, the consensus among public health scholars and practitioners is that China has been much more transparent and open in handing this outbreak than it was in 2003 during the SARS epidemic. In fact, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan thanked China for their speed in sharing relevant information. Read more »

Prescriptions for Democracy Assistance

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks in front of parliament members in Jakarta August 16, 2012. Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks in front of parliament members in Jakarta August 16, 2012. (Beawiharta/Courtesy Reuters)

At the National Endowment for Democracy this Monday, I met with a large group of democracy promotion specialists from all over the world. They offered valuable insights about how their work was affected by the weakness of democracy in many developing nations, by the pushback against democracy promotion by several major autocratic powers, and by the growing influence of money in politics in nascent democracies, where opportunities for vote-buying and graft actually seem to increase as compared to the period of authoritarian rule. Following the meeting, NED blogger Michael Allen posted several of my prescriptions for reforming democracy assistance. You can read them here.

Xi Jinping’s Three Easy Steps to a Clean China

by Elizabeth C. Economy
China's newly appointed leader Xi Jinping attends a meeting with foreign experts at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 5, 2012. China's newly appointed leader Xi Jinping attends a meeting with foreign experts at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 5, 2012. (Ed Jones/Courtesy Reuters)

Xi Jinping has one over-riding political mandate: clean up corruption or clear out. Corruption and its manifestations are at the heart of the Party’s greatest challenges: its glaring lack of legitimacy; one hundred eighty thousand mass demonstrations annually by most recent count; and an outflow of money through corruption, crime, and tax evasion as high as $3.72 trillion over the past decade. Is Xi up to the task? Read more »

China Tries to Breathe Free

by Elizabeth C. Economy
The National Stadium, also known as the 'Bird's Nest', can be seen next to a tower bearing the Olympic rings and a building under construction on a high air pollution day in Beijing on June 6, 2012. The National Stadium, also known as the 'Bird's Nest', can be seen next to a tower bearing the Olympic rings and a building under construction on a high air pollution day in Beijing on June 6, 2012. (David Gray/Courtesy Reuters)

After one day in Beijing, I had a sore throat. After two days, I had a cough. In nine days, the sun never made an appearance. So, when I returned to New York from Beijing earlier this week, I wasn’t surprised to learn from a friend who tracks China’s air quality that the pollution in the country’s capital during my stay had been among the worst since 2007.

There really isn’t any mystery as to why Beijing’s air pollution is so bad. Read more »

China’s Little Dutch Boy

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A policeman stands near the Great Wall on a hazy day in Juyongguan, China. A policeman stands near the Great Wall on a hazy day in Juyongguan, China. (Joe Chan / Courtesy Reuters)

China’s public security apparatus and all its friends in the propaganda and censorship departments must be exhausted—I know that I am exhausted just trying to keep up with them. Within the past month, they have had to figure out what to do about a blind political activist who escaped from illegal house arrest and traveled hundreds of miles to Beijing to take refuge in the American Embassy. They have had to keep an eye on 300 million Chinese micro-bloggers to determine who might have crossed a line here or there as the weibosphere has gone nuts over tales of leadership corruption and Chen Guangcheng’s harrowing journey. Read more »

A Home Run for Chen Guangcheng, the United States, and China Too…Maybe

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A supporter of Chen Guangcheng holds up a piece of paper reading, "Freedom, Guangcheng, Democracy, China", as he is being taken away by police officers at Chaoyang Hospital in Beijing, where blind activist Chen Guangcheng was reported to be staying on May 2, 2012. A supporter of Chen Guangcheng holds up a piece of paper reading, "Freedom, Guangcheng, Democracy, China", as he is being taken away by police officers at Chaoyang Hospital in Beijing, where blind activist Chen Guangcheng was reported to be staying on May 2, 2012.

It is still too early to call the outcome of the Chen Guangcheng case a home run, but for now Chen has at least made it to first base. Last week the Chinese activist—a blind, self-taught lawyer known for defending those under threat of forced abortion or forced eviction in particular—escaped from extrajudicial house arrest in Shandong province and fled to the U.S. embassy in Beijing. After six days, on May 1, he left the embassy and was reunited with his family in a Beijing hospital, where he is now receiving medical treatment. Reportedly, once he leaves the hospital, he will be relocated out of Shandong and able to pursue formal studies at a university. In the meantime, Beijing has indicated that it will investigate potential wrongdoing by local Shandong authorities. Read more »

Why So Gloomy, India?

by Evan A. Feigenbaum
People look at a large screen displaying India's Finance Minister Mukherjee announcing the federal budget on the facade of BSE building in Mumbai (Arko Datta / Courtesy Reuters). People look at a large screen displaying India's Finance Minister Mukherjee announcing the federal budget on the facade of BSE building in Mumbai (Arko Datta / Courtesy Reuters).

Over at “India Ink,” the India blog of The New York Times, there’s a terrific interview with Ajay Banga—the CEO of Mastercard and the new chair of the U.S.-India Business Council. It’s a striking presentation at a time when there’s been little but gloom and doom about India in the markets.

Why all that gloom? Here are six reasons:

Read more »

China’s Politburo Rocked by Scandal: The Challenge Moving Forward

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Bo Xilai pauses as a man adjusts a cable behind him during the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 14, 2012. (Jason Lee / Courtesy of Reuters) Bo Xilai pauses as a man adjusts a cable behind him during the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 14, 2012. (Jason Lee / Courtesy of Reuters)

After a month of rumors and speculation, former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai has been ousted—or more accurately suspended—from all his formal political positions, including as member of the Politburo. Behind the scenes of Bo’s political downfall are apparently numerous issues regarding “violations of Party discipline,” the most dramatic and terrible of which appears to be a link between his wife and the death of British citizen Neil Heywood. The death of Heywood—who had personal and professional ties to Bo’s family—in mid-November 2011, was originally ascribed to natural causes. Read more »

Power Politics in China: Bo Must Go but What More Does it Mean?

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai at the opening ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5, 2012. Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai at the opening ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5, 2012. (Jason Lee / Courtesy Reuters)

As details leak out, it appears that corruption will play a central role in the saga of former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai. Bo, who was summarily ousted from his position on March 15, apparently attempted to derail the investigation of his police chief, Wang Lijun, into corrupt practices by Bo’s family members.

Yet corruption is hardly enough of a reason to scrap one of the country’s most senior and well-known leaders. Read more »