I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching… the Party’s relentless anti-corruption campaign, unprecedented under Xi Jinping, General Secretary of CPC Central Committee. It has won strong public support and it will certainly continue. Anti-corruption is the ever-present subtheme of the 19th CPC Party Congress. Everyone wonders, “Who’s next?”
I myself am questioned by the media about the anti-corruption campaign – and I’m asked opposing and contradictory questions. International media asks me to confirm that the only purpose of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign is the political struggle with opposing factions and suppressing political opponents. Chinese media ask me to confirm that the only purpose of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign is to punish corrupt officials and it has nothing to do with political struggle with opposing factions and suppressing political opponents.
When Western analysts see Xi’s anti-corruption campaign as largely a weapon of political power, it reflects their superficial and one-dimensional perspective of China. Befitting the size and complexity of the country, for almost every decision of importance, China’s leaders have multiple motivations or reasons.
For the anti-corruption campaign, I can see ten motivations or reasons. (There’s nothing magical about "ten", there could be more.)
One: To state the obvious, officials who are manifestly corrupt are brought to justice. To manage China’s huge population and complex society, there must be respect for law and judicial impartiality.
Two: By combatting corruption, the Party increases public trust, augmenting confidence in the Party’s continuing leadership.
Three: By combatting corruption, the Party functions more effectively, making decisions for the general good, not biased by financial gain.
Four: Corruption distorts markets so that by reducing corruption, resources are allocated more efficiently.
Five: Corrupt officials impede economic reform because change threatens their illicit profits, which depend on the status quo. The removal of corrupt officials facilitates reform.
Six: Corrupt officials thwart rule of law for personal interests and prosecuting them strengthens rule of law for national interests. Rule of law is exceedingly important for General Secretary Xi Jinping. It is the third of his "Four Comprehensives," his overarching guidelines for governing China.
Seven: Some corrupt officials, in addition to enriching themselves, have non-standard political ambitions that could destabilize the system; removing these officials promotes national unity and political stability, which are essential for China.
Eight: Combatting corruption benefits China’s entire society, elevating morality and restoring Chinese civilization as a paragon of ethics and integrity.
Nine: For China to become a world business center, China must have world-class business standards and ethics.
Ten: For China to become a global role model, China must exemplify morality & rectitude.
In an unprecedented break from past practices, this year’s work report of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which investigates corruption, was first reviewed by the Politburo Standing Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core, a move called "of great political significance".
I’m Keeping Watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
(Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn is a CGTN anchor, a public intellectual, international corporate strategist and investment banker.)