China’s fight against corruption appears to have reached a stalemate. The fluctuation in the number of corruption prosecutions through the early 1990s has virtually vanished. Instead, one sees flat lines. The stalemate is surprising. Ideologically, the Chinese Communist Party has enhanced its anti-corruption rhetoric and appears more determined than ever to control the spread of corruption. Organizationally, the CCP has increased investment in the anti-corruption establishment and provided additional financial and human resources to anti-corruption institutions. The high profile prosecution of high ranking officials in recent years and the imposition of harsh sentencing, including execution, contrast sharply with the larger institutional inertia. The CCP is taking a hands-on approach in tackling corruption and appears determined to clamp down hard on corruption, as demonstrated by the increase in prosecution of large-scaled corruption cases involving top CCP officials and the institutional renovation, though limited and piecemeal. However, it is clear that the anti-corruption action is taken largely by the CCP’s anti-corruption central authority, the Central Committee of Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI), because local anti-corruption authorities are unable and unwilling to play an effective role.
Hualing Fu is a Professor of Law at University of Hong Kong, and former head of HKU Law Department (Hong Kong). He is a legal expert in corruption, human Rights in China, and legal relations between Hong Kong and Mainland China. Currently Professor Fu is a Visiting International Professor at UPenn.
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