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How I define "corruption"

Political corruption is the
use of power for
personal gain, and
includes public servants
who use their power to
advance themselves
personally at the
expense of the public.  
This isn't limited to
financial gain.  
Corruption includes
silencing public debate
about one's actions,
smearing others to
increase one's own
power, and appointing
officials for their personal
loyalty rather than their
loyalty to the public.

Corruption in schools

Corruption in courts

Public Entity Attorneys
Was Richard Nixon

Yes, in my opinion, even
though he didn't line his
own pockets.  It would
have been better if he'd
been satisfied with simple
monetary gain, rather
than damaging the
American political system
to protect his power.  
Obstruction of justice is
corruption in my book.
New report finds China has grown more corrupt
BY Laura Santhanam  
December 2, 2014

Least Corrupt Countries        
                     2012       2013        2014
Denmark              92        91        90
New Zealand        91        91        90
Finland                89        89        90
Sweden                87        89        88
Norway                86        86        85
Switzerland          86        85        86
Singapore           84        86        87
Netherlands        83        83        84
Luxembourg        82        80        80
Canada                81        81        84

A sign in Namibia discourages people from giving or taking bribes. Transparency
International found that global corruption is virtually unchanged in 2014, but China,
a nation that had made strides to hold government officials more accountable,
slipped significantly toward greater corruption.

Despite China’s public vows to prosecute bribery and shore up government
accountability, the nation falls short in its efforts to fight institutionalized corruption,
according to Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index
released today.

For one thing, bribery in China is legal. By law, an individual can still pay a
single bribe to a Chinese public official as long as it’s less than $7,000 USD. For
corporations, it’s legal up to $30,000, said Rukshana Nanayakkara, who manages
outreach in the Asia Pacific region for Transparency International. That, paired with
media reports of public officials going on trial for taking bribes, prevents China from
truly uprooting corruption.

“If you want to fight corruption sustainably, you have to look at the systemic issues
of why corruption prevails,” Nanayakkara said.

China dropped four points on the index compared to last year, and it ranked 100
out of 175 countries and territories that Transparency International assessed in this
year’s report. By comparison, the United States’ ranked 17 on the index. A drop of
three points or more is considered significant, Nanayakkara said. Overall,
corruption worldwide has remained virtually unchanged, with an average global
score of 43 on the index, he said.

“It’s a surprise. It provides a huge message to China and its approach to fighting
corruption,” he said.

To develop its index, Transparency International relied on expert opinion and a
dozen different data sources, including the African Development Bank, Freedom
House and the World Bank. Nations received grades based on several indicators,
including how well public officials are held accountable and whether or not a
country’s government has “clear procedures and accountability governing the
allocation and use of public funds.”

Nations that scored well on the index tend to support greater press freedom, public
budgeting processes and economic stability, including several countries within the
European Union, Canada and Singapore. The report’s authors advocated that
these well-scoring nations should encourage emerging nations to target
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by Maura Larkins
Five reasons corruption is getting worse in China
By Rukshana Nanayakkara
Transparency International
3 December 2014

The big story in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2014 is that corruption
seems to be getting worse in China, despite a two-year anti-corruption

China has dropped four points from 40 out of 100 in 2013 to 36 in 2014.
While this is not as eye-catching as the dramatic fall in rank from 80th to
100th, the four-point fall is significant. Only Turkey falls more.

The government has run a high-profile anti-corruption campaign ostensibly
targeting both “tigers and flies” for two years. Officials are eschewing
ostentatious consumption of luxury goods such is the fear of prosecution.

So how can corruption be getting worse? The Corruption Perceptions Index
is based on country experts and businesspeople, looking more at structural
issues than what’s in the news.

Here are five factors that could lie behind the numbers:

1. Too much stick, not enough transparency …

Bringing the corrupt to justice is important, but a more transparent judicial
system would do more to convince people that the campaign is part of a
lasting change.

World Justice Project gave China a lower score for criminal justice in 2014
than 2013, warning:

The delivery of criminal justice is relatively effective, but compromised by
political interference.”

2. … Or accountability

A crackdown alone will not paper over a public sector lacking transparency
and accountability in public bodies. What will help are transparency reforms
such as publishing all spending online and passing laws that protect
citizens, reporters and bloggers who expose corruption.

The Bertelsmann Transformation Index says:

The lack of competitive political processes, institutional checks and
balances and accountability mechanisms, an independent judiciary and a
free press increase the regime’s susceptibility to corruption”

Chinese students sign a petition against corruption

Chinese students sign a petition against corruption

3. Chinese officials can launder proceeds of corruption offshore

One reason a Chinese official can still get away with corruption despite a
strong crackdown is the ease with which even petty officials can hide
corrupt gains offshore.

In January, leaked files revealed 22,000 “tax haven clients” from Hong
Kong and China. They revealed that:

Close relatives of China’s top leaders have held secretive offshore
companies in tax havens.”

The Chinese government has itself recognised the global dimension of its
corruption problem. Chinese state media has recently been reporting that
US, Canada and Australia are the most popular destinations for corruption

China is not the only country trying to stop money flowing out of its own
country – tracking and recovering stolen assets is a problem developing
countries have been struggling with for decades.

But China’s rapid growth means the problem is on a much bigger scale. It is
the world’s biggest exporter of illicit flows, black money like bribes and
criminal activity – we are talking about
US$1 trillion over a decade (2002-2011).

China recently made a declaration requiring officials to register their
property. This is one small step in the way forward. But indeed positive.

China’s inconsistent message at G20 level on publishing beneficial
ownership information in public company registers is particularly alarming,
given China has a weak culture of transparency.

China has at least made a declaration requiring officials register their
property. This is one small step in the way forward. But indeed positive.

4. Failure to regulate the business sector

China’s biggest companies are less transparent than global competitors,
according to a report issued by Transparency International last month. Of
the 124 companies in the report, seven of the bottom 11 were from China.

The fact that Bank of China is at the bottom of the list speaks volumes.
This is because there is insufficient regulation of business practices.
Today, a company doesn’t break the law in China if it pays a bribe under
200,000 yuan (US$32,700).

5. The lack of bottom-up reform

China should allow more freedom for civil society and media to hold officials
to account.

The World Justice Projects Rule of Law index says:

Protection of fundamental rights is weak, ranking 96th globally, notably
due to substantial limitations on freedom of speech and freedom of