In China, corruption is hot topic at party congress – latimes.com
As China modernizes, tolerance of corruption has clearly diminished.
When Lin began writing about the topic in the 1990s, she had difficulty getting her books published in China. At this point, however, she is one of the party school’s most frequently quoted professors. A Pew Research Center poll last month rated corruption as a sharply rising public concern in China.
People used to simply roll their eyes and crack jokes, assuming that corrupt officials were an integral part of the official political culture. Nowadays, though, members of the public are increasingly taking matters into their own hands. Anti-corruption activists troll the Internet looking for photographs of officials that they then blow up for close-ups of wristwatches.
Yang Dacai, the head of the Shaanxi province Bureau of Work Safety, was outed in September by online vigilantes known as the “human flesh search engine.” They found 11 watches and various accessories worth more than $100,000. Cai Bin, a municipal inspection official in Guangzhou who gained the moniker “Uncle House,” was found to have 21 properties registered in the names of various family members, although he had reported only two.
“This is a very common problem with a one-party political system. Even a village chief can become very rich, and the higher your ranking the more money you can make,” said Zhang Lifan, a prominent Communist Party historian in Beijing.
A recent spate of exposes has uncovered incredible wealth in the upper echelons.
Relatives of Politburo Standing Committee members, the top ruling body, appear to have substantial interests in the oil, telecommunications, tobacco and utilities sectors. A WikiLeaks cable released in 2010 quoted a source as telling the U.S. Embassy in Beijing that “China’s top leadership had carved up China’s economic ‘pie,’ creating an ossified system in which ‘vested interests’ drove decision-making and impeded reform as leaders maneuvered to ensure that those interests were not threatened.”
The family of Premier Wen Jiabao, who is reputed to be the most reform-minded in the upper echelons, was reported by the New York Times last month to be worth $2.7 billion, with his mother holding a stake in an insurance company and his wife in precious gems, and his U.S.-educated son running a major private equity firm.