First they gave us anti-corruption lapel pins and statues. Then they gave us ethics classes. Now the CCP is throwing out another bone to pacify public impatience with corruption while craftily avoiding anything that might check its absolute power…or actually do anything to curb corruption.
In this case, China is starting a new five-year plan to tackle corruption, Bloomberg reports.
It isn’t immediately clear what this new plan will include, but it sounds awfully familiar to an earlier pronouncement (via Austin Ramsey) entitled “China to Rein in Corruption within 5 Years,” which said:
An official from China’s top discipline watchdog reiterated in Beijing that the country will effectively curb corruption cases within 5 years as effective legal and structural measures become more perfect.
China’s heavier clampdown on corrupt officials during the past several years, including the execution of deputy legislative speaker Cheng Kejie, is preventing officials from thinking of corruption.
That was from January 2001. In case you haven’t noticed, more than a handful of officials have thought about corruption since that five year deadline expired.
So why does corruption persist in spite of all these measures? In my affinity for dumbing things down to very crude analogies, this is China’s anti-corruption apparatus:
“We admit that the whole thing doesn’t quite fly and there are still problems to address,” the government says. “But we’re initiating some bold new reforms over the next five years to effectively curb these problems once and for all”:
Trying to stop corruption but refusing to allow for the rule of law through truly independent police, courts AND real public oversight through a free media is like trying to build a functional airplane but refusing to entertain the concept of lift.
Bloomberg quoted Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore saying, “In the past ten years, the more they fight corruption, the more plans and agencies they set up, the worse the corruption gets.”
By now this should be patently obvious. Anti-corruption initiatives usually consist of two things: parading harsh punishments of the few that are caught and touting greater oversight through some new anti-corruption authority. But the basic systematic framework is still in place, so these agencies just get in on the corruption themselves. The problem now involves more people and more money.
So this looks like the latest in a long long line of nearly identical initiatives meant to appease the public and quell calls for real reform.
He Guoqiang, head of the CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and #8 man on the Politburo said, “The work of constructing a system of punishing and preventing corruption has shown to be effective.”
The day that ranking officials up to and including himself can be criticized, investigated and indicted by the public is the day we can believe him.