News / Asia

Taiwan Steps Up Anti-Corruption Work

New office buildings are seen shooting up in Taipei's new business area in Taipei, May 2009 file photo.
New office buildings are seen shooting up in Taipei's new business area in Taipei, May 2009 file photo.
Ralph Jennings
Taiwan is stepping up anti-corruption efforts to improve its image at home and among offshore investors. The government in Taipei has banned bribery, pledged to follow up daily citizen complaints about graft and make it easier for foreign companies to report wrongdoing.

Taiwan, an old manufacturing base and the 26th largest economy, today competes against China, South Korea and Southeast Asia for new investment. But in July, the nongovernmental group Transparency International said perceptions of judicial, legislative and political party graft in Taiwan had exceeded global averages. It said the perceptions also had worsened since 2010.

Taiwan rejects the Berlin-based NGO’s findings as excessive, but officials acknowledge growing public anger about corruption and fear that investors will be deterred. Chu Kung-mao, director-general of the Justice Ministry’s two-year-old Agency Against Corruption, has commissioned a poll for later this month to gauge public opinion on the issue. He says the poll, carried out by Transparency International’s Taipei chapter, is aimed at building confidence in Taiwanese investors who have moved offshore.

He says the main reason is to offer a clean environment and make Taiwanese investors want to return from offshore without worrying that public servants will ask them for money. He says the agency is doing both administrative and substantive work, including letting people know where graft complaints stand, to make the public service climate cleaner. In that way, he adds, businesses local and foreign will want to invest.

Chu’s agency, part of a democratic government that prides itself on a reliable business climate, looks into every complaint from the public. It has reported receiving 5,937 allegations since 2011. On top of those, the agency has launched 2,190 inquiries into corruption practices based on in-house information.

The agency also increasingly warns officials about potential breaches before they happen.

Two years ago the government outlawed bribery, including small transactions such as buying tea for a customs agent. By the end of this year it will meet with multinational firms about graft and give them a special channel to voice any complaints.

Liu Yi-jiun, a public affairs professor at Fo Guang University in Taiwan, says people in Taiwan generally suspect the judiciary and elected officials.

“What I see is that most of the people still have very little confidence in judicial independence. Civil servants, I think they are fine. I think right now the problems usually focus on the elected officials,” says Liu Yi-jiun.

Transparency International found that perceptions of judicial bribery in Taiwan had risen from 12 to 36 percent since 2010, putting Taiwan on a level with Ghana and Mozambique. The NGO’s Global Corruption Barometer also gave low marks to Taiwan’s legislature and political parties.

In a case just this week, Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party expelled parliament speaker Wang Jin-pyng over suspicion of influence peddling. But Chu’s agency says the largest share of corruption in Taiwan stems from government procurement, with 164 cases since 2011, and construction contracts with 137. Those cases often involve local officials with small budgets.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More