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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid