Home Asia-Pacific A brief overview of China’s corruption epidemic: Data survey shows who is...

A brief overview of China’s corruption epidemic: Data survey shows who is taking what


Corruption is a type of criminal activity or fraudulent pursuit that is performed by an organization or an individual who is entrusted with a powerful position in order to benefit illegally. This may be in the form of bribery and stealing of government funds. Corruption is illegal in many countries but most serious in China.

According to the Shanghai report, there has been an anti-corruption campaign ongoing in China that disregards easy explanation. Over 1.5 million officials have been verified over the past 6 years as part of the campaign from bureaucrats to village committee members. This has resulted in the arrest of the former four communist party secretaries belonging to the south-western city of Kunming. The eastern city of Nanjing saw a party chief and their two mayors convicted and hanged. Moreover, Chongqing megacity lost many eminent officials to corruption more than any other region in China.

The huge amount of money lost through corruption

The amount of money lost through corruption in China is enormous. It is not surprising that this is stolen by high ranking officials such as Zhang Shuguang (former deputy chief engineer of China defunct Ministry of Railways) and Liu Zhijun the latter’s former boss. The two used their power to default the government 47 million Yuan and 64 million yuan via bribes. 

Sadly, even the lower level officials such as Chen Wanshou (Beijing’s village accountant) were not left behind in embezzling money worth 119 million yuan from state coffers. His case has led to huge public attention due to the fact that he is a small official caught up in a big graft scandal.

How officials benefit from corruption money

The China Judgement Online database shows that most of the resources were stolen by several highly ranked individuals. 

These 7300 officials took away an average of 318,000 Yuan with a median sum of 56,800 Yuan. Also, many individuals caught and found guilty of corruption were convicted over a very small amount of money. However, some of the officials were involved in money embezzlement but got nothing out of it either directly or indirectly. 

The database also indicates that the amount of money gotten via bribes is greater than that from graft cases. This is due to the fact that the Chinese government’s finance department has established some measures that make it difficult for officials to access money in a way that they can directly rob. In general, the money the officials get is not big enough for them to benefit greatly.

The Chinese government takes corruption cases seriously as if it’s a business they are conducting officially. Those found guilty of defrauding the government and the country’s citizens are jailed for life or even hanged. Companies in China have expressed their faith in Judicial independence over fighting corruption. Nonetheless, they are not yet contented with the coherence of the legal body.


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