What Motivates Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Anti-Corruption Drive?

by Rob Schmitz NPR | Oct. 24, 2017 7:45 p.m. | Updated: Oct. 25, 2017 6:48 a.m.
In August 2012, Chinese politician Xi Jinping suddenly disappeared for three weeks. China’s 18th Party Congress was weeks away, an event where Xi would be anointed as China’s next leader.
To this day, nobody outside key members of China’s top leadership knows why.
“One story that’s popular among the ‘chatterati’ of Beijing is that there was a lot of concern about the Bo Xilai situation and what it meant for the party,” says Arthur Kroeber, managing director of Gavekal Dragonomics.
The year 2012 was a tumultuous one for China’s Communist Party. Top politician Bo Xilai was under investigation after his wife was convicted of murdering a foreigner, and corruption within party ranks was spiraling out of control.
Kroeber says the rumor behind Xi’s disappearance that summer begins with Xi going to China’s Communist Party elders.
“And the story goes that he said, ‘Look. We’ve got a serious problem here. This requires very serious measures to rein in corruption and impose more discipline, and I’ll do that, but you need to give me carte blanche to do what I want,’ ” says Kroeber.
If party elders weren’t prepared to give Xi these powers, the tale goes, then he wasn’t interested in the job.
This, of course, is a rumor. But if true, it would help explain Xi’s rise to become one of the world’s strongest leaders.
In the months before taking office five years ago, Xi delivered a speech announcing the campaign he would use to consolidate power — a sweeping crusade against corruption, which had become prevalent on every level of society after decades of double-digit growth.
According to Willy Wo-Lop Lam, author of Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping, it was now or never. “There was a good possibility, in fact, that if high-level corruption continues, the people would rise up and overthrow the party,” says Lam.
To date, Xi’s anti-corruption drive has led to the investigation and punishment of hundreds of thousands of government officials.
Lam says Xi has used the campaign to eliminate key members of rival factions within China’s Communist Party — the Shanghai faction, led by former President Jiang Zemin, and the Youth League faction, led by former President Hu Jintao.
“Xi Jinping has been successfully building up his own faction, the Xi Jinping faction, which has now displaced the Shanghai faction and the Youth League faction as the largest faction in the political party,” Lam says.
At the opening session of the 19th Party Congress last week, Xi announced a new era for China. It was a way of distinguishing his policies from those of his predecessors. Lam believes Xi has become the strongest Chinese leader since Mao Zedong by wielding the anti-corruption campaign as a Machiavellian tool to eliminate potential rivals.
Kroeber doesn’t agree.
“I think the evidence that we have is that that is not his aim,” Kroeber says.
He points to how far-reaching Xi’s campaign has become, permeating every level of government.
“His aim is much broader,” Kroeber says. “He wants to create a system that will survive after him. And in that sense, he is a kind of member of this Chinese elite that has a sense of mission about the country as whole.”
In Shanghai, Peter Corne, a managing partner at Dorsey & Whitney who has practiced law in China for more than two decades, agrees.
“From my discussions with local people, that’s completely changed their view about the country. It’s given them hope,” he says.
He says if Xi is using the anti-corruption campaign to remove political rivals, then it is only a small part of what has become a far-reaching reform of how China is governed.
“The fact that all government officials are so aware of this and so careful now means that it’s become the new normality,” Corne says. “And it’s just changed the way people think and the way people do things. And I think that’s going to sustain.”
Corne says he has for years felt that practicing law in China was promoting an illusion. Now, he says, it’s a little more meaningful.
Yuhan Xu contributed research to this story.

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s top anti-graft watchdog has said that a multi-year campaign against corruption is consolidating and would continue to develop, according to a work report released at a key leadership summit.
The Central Commission of Discipline Inspection said in the report given to reporters on Monday as part of the closing ceremony of the 19th National Party Congress that the campaign has been “built into a crushing tide”.
President Xi Jinping’s has vowed to battle deep-seated graft in the Party saying that a failure to stop corruption could damage the Party’s future.
(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Sam Holmes)
Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters.

1.34 million Chinese officials punished in Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive

BEIJING: Over a million grassroots-level Chinese officials have been punished in the sweeping anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping, which also effectively helped to consolidate his power.

Ahead of this month’s key National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), its top disciplinary watchdog said around 1.34 million grassroots-level party officials around the country had been punished since the party’s 2012 meeting during which Xi was elected leader of the party.

source : http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2017/oct/08/134-million-chinese-officials-punished-in-xi-jinpings-anti-corruption-drive-1668712.html

Behind Nigeria’s failed anti-corruption wars by Christopher Akor

Last week I had argued on this page, in response to Olu Fasan’s argument that the “onus of proof” puts excessive legal and evidential burden on the prosecution in corruption and helps to frustrate the anti-corruption fight, that what appears, to me, to derail anticorruption cases in Nigeria is the lack of political will or, more appropriately, the politicization of the anti-corruption war. I gave two examples of the cases involving the Senate President and Godswill Orubebe where the aim was purely political – to remove Saraki from office and tarnish the name of Orubebe – and has got nothing to do with their being corrupt.
I feel obliged to elaborate on my argument last week that the solution to the lackluster anti-corruption war of the Nigerian government is not in the reversal of the burden of proof but in its complete depoliticisation. Let me explain.
By the time the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established in 2003, Nigeria had become notorious in the comity of nations and the global business community a haven of advanced fee fraud (popularly known as 419 in Nigeria) and a country that nurtured and encouraged citizens as criminals. There were serious pressures from the international community, especially the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money laundering for Nigeria to do something about the crime. So great was the pressure – and also because president Obasanjo was so desperate for foreign investment – that he set up and empowered the EFCC to investigate and prosecute cases of financial crimes such as advance fee fraud (419) and money laundering.
The EFCC under Ribadu went after the fraudsters – Adedeji Alumile, Fred Ajudua, Emmanuel Nwude, Amaka Anajemba, Nzeribe Edeh Okoli etc – were all arrested, prosecuted, convicted and jailed for advance fee fraud, stealing, extortion and money laundering. The fear of the EFCC became the beginning of wisdom for the perpetrators of such crimes. The international community took notice and was willing to do business, once again, with Nigeria. All these while, Nigerians – both politicians and ordinary citizens – were unanimous in their praise of the EFCC and there was no mention of bias by the EFCC. Most crucially, the EFCC went through the whole gamut of thorough investigation and prosecution of the accused professionally and diligently and was able to secure conviction for most of the fraudsters.
Seeing the successes the EFCC recorded in the fight against advance fee fraud and money laundering, Obasanjo promptly drafted the commission into investigating and prosecuting corruption cases against politicians. That was fine and most needed. However, he could not resist the temptation to use the EFCC to fight political battles or threaten his political opponents while preventing the same commission from going after his cronies/loyalists who were variously accused or have openly confessed to corrupt deeds– and it was at that instance that the war against corruption of his administration collapsed. He turned the effective EFCC in an attack dog, threatening and harassing political opponents that the commission lost its knack for thorough investigation and prosecution. 
Obasanjo was also enjoying the successes of the EFCC and the positive reviews it was receiving both locally and abroad that he decided to make the anti-corruption fight a media show – accusing, prosecuting and convicting people in the media and receiving praises as the Nigerian messiah. 
I will never forget the night of Tuesday, March 22, 2005, when Obasanjo commandeered all radio and television stations in the country to make a prime-time broadcast in which, without restraints, he accused the Senate President, Adolphus Wabara and six other lawmakers of demanding and collecting a bribe of N55 million naira from the Minister of Education in order to increase the ministry’s 2005 budget. He also accused his Education Minister, Fabian Osuji, the permanent secretary and five other directors in the ministry of collusion to bribe members of the National Assembly. He promptly fired Osuji, suspended the civil servants and referred all of them to the Economic and Financials Crime Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related commission for onward prosecution.
The publicity and praise for the ‘anti-corruption war’ of the former President was unprecedented. Nigerians and foreigners alike praised Obasanjo to high heavens and condemned the corrupt officials. The Nigerian media, for weeks, analysed the matter with most passing the ‘guilty’ verdict on the accused. Very few, if any, bothered to question the motive of the president and why he had to be the prosecutor and judge on the same case.
Besides, perhaps only few perceptive Nigerians saw the incident as an embarrassment and negative publicity Nigeria did not need at the time. If the president had concrete evidence(s) of corruption against the officials, he should have passed it/them over to the police or better still, the anti-corruption agencies to do their work and not embarrass the nation before the world with such an uncouth broadcast that portrayed Nigeria as a haven of corruption.
Interestingly, the allegations have not been proved till this day. When the civil servants were investigated by the Federal Civil Service Commission prior to their being disciplined and sent for trial, they were found innocent. None of them was charged to court for the alleged offence and they all returned to their duty posts. For the six lawmakers charged to court, none of them was convicted. The cases were all thrown out of court for lack of evidence.
Sadly, successive administrations have copied from the Obasanjo manual of fighting corruption – and their anti-graft wars have all come to naught. Have we forgotten how, in May 2010, after it appears that the then National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was not in support of President Jonathan running for the presidency and wanted the party to honour its zoning arrangement that zoned the presidency to the north in 2011, he was promptly arraigned at an Abuja High Court on a 17 count criminal charge of N107 million fraud he was alleged to have committed in 2001 as a Minister. Of course, he promptly resigned (which was the real intent anyway). In 2014, he was discharged and acquitted.
Currently we have a government that is so determined of fighting corruption but he is quick, even without any investigations, to absolve his closest allies of corruption while hounding his opponents. There were grave and weighty corruption allegations against General Tukur Burutai, Chief of Army Staff, General Abdulrahman Dambazau, Minister of Interior and former Chief of Army Staff, Abba Kyari, and Chief of Staff to the President, Babachir Lawal, suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Even the Presidential panel set up to probe arms procurement between 2007 and 2015, and whose reports were being used to prosecute past military chiefs was hurriedly disbanded the moment it began moves to investigate the tenure of the Present National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno as Chief of Defence Intelligence between July 2009 and September 2011. The curious reason given by the government for its dissolution was that it has outlived its usefulness.
Besides appointing an incompetent attorney general – who, by the way, was also accused by Justice Ademola of pursuing a personal vendetta against him for disciplining him as a lawyer in Kano – and blackmailing the judiciary for not convicting accused persons being tried in court without any shred of evidence, the government has done nothing to improve its capacity to successfully investigate and prosecute corruption cases. It is more interested in fighting the war in the media.

source :: https://www.businessdayonline.com/behind-nigerias-failed-anti-corruption-wars/

Sun Zhengcai tipped as China’s future president ousted as Xi Jinping wields ‘iron discipline’

The Chinese operate on a different level. Zhengcai replaced Bo Xilai who had a spectacular fall from grace in 2013. Bo is now imprisoned for life and Sun’s fate seems similar.

He studied agriculture in rural England and was tipped by some as China’s future leader.

But on Tuesday morning Sun Zhengcai’s political obituary was splashed across the front page of the Communist party’s official mouthpiece in a damning editorial entitled: “Rule strictly over the party with iron discipline.”

“The investigation into comrade Sun Zhengcai sounds the alarm bell for the party,” the People’s Daily article warned, as it announced that the youngest member of China’s political elite had been ejected from power for a “serious violation of discipline”.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/25/china-future-president-ousted-xi-jinping-iron-discipline-sun-zhengcai

How Jamaican Parliament Could Change Controversial Clause In Anti-Corruption Bill

The Government is facing mounting pressure to remove a section of an anti-corruption bill that would allow Cabinet to designate some contracts ‘confidential’ and require that investigators seek permission before starting a probe.
For the National Integrity Action and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, the section, which is part of Clause 52 of the Integrity Commission bill, is “unacceptable” and could undermine the purpose of the proposed law.
The bill was approved in the Senate last Thursday with 103 amendments, which means that it has to go back to the House of Representatives for further approval.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20170724/how-parliament-could-change-controversial-clause-anti-corruption-bill

OP-ED | THE URGENT NEED FOR A PUBLIC ANTI-CORRUPTION TASK FORCE IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

On June 30, 2017, the V.I. Inspector General issued a 76 page written report with scathing findings entitled Audit of the Department of Education’s Inventory Controls Over the School Lunch Program. Among these findings was that $920,000 had been spent on food management software and consultants but these huge expenditures did not correlate to any significant benefits to the School Lunch Program. In fact, the report concluded that the Program has not been “functioning in an efficient and effective manner” for decades and that has made it “susceptible to fraud, waste and abuse”. The direct results are that our children who are attending public schools as well as taxpayers suffer but the wrongdoers continue to benefit.

http://viconsortium.com/opinion/op-ed-the-urgent-need-for-a-public-anti-corruption-task-force-in-the-virgin-islands/