News / Asia

China has a Long Corruption, Reform Struggle Ahead

FILE - Zhou Yongkang, then Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, attends a plenary session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.FILE - Zhou Yongkang, then Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, attends a plenary session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.
x
FILE - Zhou Yongkang, then Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, attends a plenary session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.
FILE - Zhou Yongkang, then Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, attends a plenary session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.

China's investigation into one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security tsar Zhou Yongkang, is a crucial step, analysts say, but only the beginning of what is likely to be a more drawn out and increasingly tense battle against corruption. Analysts say one key challenge that Zhou’s investigation highlights is the need to do more to reform powerful state owned enterprises, which have long been a source of corruption.

Powerful dual role

Zhou Yongkang’s rise to power and influence began in the oilfields of northeast China. He played a part in developing some of the country’s biggest sources of oil and in the opening of gas fields in remote Xinjiang and southern Sichuan.
 
From his eventual post as head of state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), he rose up within the party to hold other key positions, including public security minister, before becoming a member of China’s top leadership body, the Politburo Standing Committee.
 
As his power and influence grew, there were others around him who also benefited from their experience in the state-run oil industry, and they stuck together.  
 
David Zweig is a political scientist at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He said oil is a critical resource for the stability of the Communist Party.  "It is [a] critical resource in terms of imports, goods being brought in from overseas a lot of capital a lot of cash going into it. These are powerful companies. They are among the most powerful companies in the world," he explained. "The Chinese oil companies give a lot of power and a lot of prestige to a small group of people who can really hang together.”
 
China corruption probe, reform

When Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang began their push to promote reforms after stepping into office, individuals such as Zhou were seen as a key obstacle to that effort, and so a push began to remove them.
 
According to the Chinese language financial news magazine Caixin, at least 45 people from CNPC are already under investigation, including several with close ties to Zhou.
 
It is not yet clear if Zhou will face criminal charges, but investigations into a widening web of corrupt individuals linked to him continues. One of the key investigations into CNPC began last year when Jiang Jiemin was put under investigation. Jiang’s last post was as head of the body that overseas state-owned assets.
 
What is clear, Cai Jiming, an economist at Tsinghua University said, is that the problem of the relationships between state-owned enterprises needs to be addressed.

Conflict of interest

He said Zhou used to be an executive at the China National Petroleum Corporation and so when he became a leader, he was in a position to cover up all of the CNPC’s pre-existing problems.
 
Cai said state-owned enterprises have a very close relationship with the government and the supervisory body that oversees their operations, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, and that makes independent supervision difficult.
 
Right now, he said, the state assets watchdog is tasked with the work of both managing and supervising state owned enterprises.
 
Cai said he personally believes that the State Council should be tasked with managing state owned enterprises assets, and that perhaps the People's Congress should have the responsibility of supervising that management.
 
Analysts say allowing state-owned enterprises to establish a board of directors and opening them up to more competition from the private sector is also key if the government wants to succeed in pushing forward with reforms.
 
Getting the state-owned sector to change, however, will not be easy. The South China Morning Post reports that in a recent speech, President Xi Jinping even admitted that  "the two armies of corruption and anti-corruption are in confrontation and in a stalemate."
 
The report said Xi is believed to have made the remarks late last month at a closed door Politburo meeting.  A party official said Xi also said that he would press forward with the anti-corruption fight even at the risk of life, death or reputation.
 
According to the report, China’s president made the remarks just days before the investigation into Zhou was made public.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
August 07, 2014 5:28 PM
Chins does not believe in institutional checks and balances. Power is monopolised by the Chinese Communist Party. They never ask who police the police? They believe in rule of man. If they have good people they will be proper. Western democracy does not believe in proper persons. Power corrupts and power corrupts with Chinese characteristics. China should learn from history its own and the world.

by: Wangchuk from: NY
August 07, 2014 9:51 AM
The CCP uses the corruption charge to get rid of senior officials that the Party no longer likes or to remove junior officials who have become too extravagant & make the Party look bad. The Party will never investigate the current senior leaders even though they are just as corrupt as Zhou and others who have gone down. You can't investigate yourself. As long as China is ruled by one party, then corruption will be systemic and prevalent.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs