The Watcher: Ten reasons behind China’s anti-corruption drive
By CGTN’s R.L.Kuhn
The relentless anti-corruption drive, unprecedented under Chinese President Xi Jinping, also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has won strong public support and it will certainly continue.
Anti-corruption is the ever-present subtheme of the 19th CPC National Congress. Everyone wonders, “Who’s next?”
I myself am questioned by the media about the drive and I’m asked opposing and contradictory questions. International media ask me to confirm that the only purpose of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign is political struggle with opposing factions and suppressing political opponents.
Chinese media ask me to confirm that the only purpose of Xi’s anti-corruption drive 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 drive 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 drive, 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 combating corruption, the Party increases public trust, augmenting confidence in the Party’s continuing leadership.
Three: By combating corruption, the Party functions more effectively, making decisions for the general good, not biased by financial gain.
Four: Corruption distorts markets, so 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 Xi. 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: Combating 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-class business center, China must have world-class business ethics and standards.
Ten: For China to become a global role model, China must exemplify morality and rectitude.
To understand China, one must understand Xi’s anti-corruption drive.
(Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn is a CGTN anchor, a public intellectual, international corporate strategist and investment banker.)