How is China curbing the spread of corruption?
By Cui Hui'ao

China has been one of the leading countries in the fight against corruption in recent years. Following the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Beijing launched a massive anti-corruption campaign. 

One famous concept is "striking tigers and swatting flies," meaning the crackdown targets not only corrupt high-ranking officials, but low-ranking ones as well. 

Other anti-corruption concepts include addressing "the four forms of decadence" – formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance; taking decisive actions to improve the conduct of Party and government officials (known as the CPC Central Committee's "eight-point decision"). 

But according to Professor Alessandro Teixeira, who teaches public policy at Tsinghua University, the key to the campaign's success has been a willingness to tackle the problem head on. 

"One of the critical elements is to make the society have conscience. To make anti-corruption a public subject and to address it is very important because the CPC members are members of the society. They need to be the role model of the Chinese society," says the professor.  

So how exactly has the CPC done it? Punishment has been an important tool. In 2020 alone, disciplinary inspection and supervisory organs across the country investigated about 618,000 corruption cases, leading to the punishment of over 600,000 people.  

"Make them accountable in different measures, can be punitive, can be improving behavior. There are different tones in terms of how you apply the punitive measures," says Teixeira. 

But Teixeira, who used to work for the Brazilian government as deputy minister at the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, says punishment and building a good system alone are not enough to prevent corruption. 

Back in 2016, President Xi Jinping said: "We need to guide people to do better and give full play to the guiding role of ideals, beliefs and morality." In other words, moral education is key. 

"Corruption doesn't just happen in the government. It happens in society, in companies. So educating them and showing what is right, what is (are) the values is very important," says the professor.  

From Party schools to local communities, teaching people about corruption has become a central feature of recent years. As an old saying goes, "it takes a good blacksmith to make good steel." And the CPC also continues to urge officials to stay true to the Party's original aspiration – that is, seeking happiness for the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. 

Read more:

Education – a key factor behind China's anti-corruption drive

China outlines four-point proposal on global fight against corruption

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