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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.