Why Corruption Will Never End in China

Here is my translation of the article:-

"During the recent NPC and CPPCC annual session, the motion about 'the declaration of officials’ and their families’ and offsprings’ assets' drew the hottest public debate. None of the NPC and CPPCC representatives who attended the session dared to voice in public any objection to the motion. But in the opinion poll that someone conducted among those officials, 97 percent of the interviewees expressed opposition to such an asset declaration.

In answering a reporter’s question at the news conference, Premier Wen Jiabao indicated his support of the motion, but said: 'We must not rush things – we must first establish a relevant set of laws and procedures before the proposal can be put into practice, so that it won’t be something that’s purely a formality.' I can fully understand Premier Wen’s worries. Some officials have even raised five reasons why implementation of such proposal should not be rushed: the real-name finance system does not cover cash transactions; the ID information system lacks accuracy; the real property registration system is imperfect; the current technology and system is incapable of correctly recording the exact amount of assets, jewelry and antiques stowed overseas; the lack of credibility consciousness.

In fact, these are all excuses for killing or delaying the implementation process for officials’ asset declaration. In an NPC and CPPCC session some twenty years ago, the same proposal was once put on the table. Now twenty years have lapsed, how come the 'relevant set of laws and procedures' still have not been established? Having officials declare their assets is a crucial anti-corruption measure. As early as 1991, I publicly declared in a city administration group discussion forum: 'The Communist Party can never take a serious stand against corruption.'

During the June 4th political movement, students used the slogans 'Anti-corruption' and 'Anti-officialdom'. The authorities seemed on the surface to be supportive of these slogans. During the 1991 city administration group discussion, we were supposed to study an anti-corruption document that the top brass sent down, saying 'Officials who are found to have accepted bribes (including gifts) not exceeding 3,000 yuans will be dealt with by the Disciplinary Committee; those cases involving an amount exceeding 3,000 yuans will be dealt with by the Justice Department.'

During the discussion that followed, I said 'The Communist Party can never take a serious stand against corruption.' Everybody was dumbfounded. Then I continued: 'First, I said 'serious stand' – please do not take out the word 'serious'. Second, let’s think for a while. In the early 1980s when the open and reform policy was first initiated, when someone wants something done by an official who had power, all he had to do was to give the latter two bottles of wine and two cartons of cigarettes, and that something was done. In the mid-80s, one would need to give color TVs, refrigerators or audio equipment. From the late-80s up to the present, you know how people use excuses to visit some officials’ home and stealthily stuff envelopes of cash or bank books in the crevices between sofa seats. Now, what’s the big deal with 3,000 yuans? How many party officials with real power would have bribes and gifts amounting to less than 3,000 yuans a year? If we follow that document to the letter, I’m afraid that all officials should be arrested. But then, who will be left to run the government?'

After I spoke, no one spoke in support, no one spoke in opposition. Silence ensued for a few minutes. Then the group talked about other topics.

So, today’s issue of having officials declare their assets has not departed from my past assumption that 'The Communist Party can never take a serious stand against corruption'. Frankly, if one were to seriously investigate party officials’ personal assets, one would likely find that, with a few exceptions, those at or above county level all own over a million yuans each, some even have tens of millions. Considering their salaries, can they possibly have saved that kind of money? Someone has done a survey - over 91 percent of those owning over 100 million are the children of high ranking officials. If not for their parents’ power and influence, how many of them can earn those hundreds of millions by virtue of their own capabilities? If say, one day the party officials are made to declare their own and their families’ and children’s assets, do you expect the Party’s ruling status can still remain intact? That is why I say that even one day when the so-called 'relevant laws and procedures' are established (who knows when that will be!), there is no way that the party officials and their kin will honestly declare all their assets. Just wait and see!"