Stability and Anticorruption Initiatives: Is There a Chinese Model?
26 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2013 Last revised: 21 Nov 2013
Date Written: July 12, 2013
China is a high-corruption state. Yet, despite its prevalence and entrenchment, corruption has not undermined China’s economy, social stability and the political legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party. Corruption inches in, and the Party fights back. Corruption and anti-corruption efforts have reached a stalemate. One conventional explanation of China’s ability to manage the impact of corruption is China’s “authoritarian resilience”.
A neglected aspect in the authoritarian thesis is the degree to which China is learning from the international best practice based on the principles of transparency, the rule of law and public participation. In enhancing anti-corruption enforcement, the Party has done more than it is willing to admit in creating institutions that may in the long run pose serious challenges to its rule.
This paper argues that anticorruption enforcement in China goes beyond relying on the authoritarian measures, such as extra-legal detention or the use of the death penalty. The fact that the Party can still hold on to its position in the battle against corruption can be better explained by the Party’s ability to learn from overseas experiences and to introduce a series of anticorruption initiatives which are rule-of-law based, transparency-centered and democracy-driven. One of the best examples of China’s extensive borrowing from international best practices is China’s active participation in the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the faithful implementation of the relevant treaty obligations. Interestingly, while China pushes back any UN-based supervisory mechanism in the broadly defined human rights areas, it has followed in good faith the recommendations of the UNCAC. While a reform initiative may be doomed if it is introduced to improve citizens’ civil and political rights, it becomes possible when introduced to enhance anticorruption enforcement.
Keywords: Chinese Model, Anti-Corruption Enforcement, Authoritarian Resilience, Rule of Law, OGI
JEL Classification: F14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation