What is the Root Cause of the Crowds of Party and Government Bosses Turning to Corruption? (story in Chinese)

October 1, 2004

The site "fanfubai.com" collects articles and news on China's current struggle against corruption.

This opinion piece discusses the phenomenon of bosses at various levels who are too powerful to be properly supervised. The authors describe the panoply of new laws and regulations concerned with rooting out corruption through intensive supervision but conclude that supervision fails for three reasons. Supervision from above is "too distant"; supervision on the same level is "too weak"; supervision from beneath is "too difficult". Far better, they argue, are mechanisms that rely on the officials' self-interest, such as the retirement bonuses for clean officials that have been put in place in a few of the richer provinces.

The argument presented in this piece runs counter to the more common assumption in authoritarian China that any problem can be resolved by heavier, more intensive control from above.