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重庆大学经济学教授,重庆市首席专家(经济学),长江学者特聘教授。诺丁汉大学当代中国学学院创建院长,经济学教授,著名华裔经济学家,复旦大学和西安交通大学特聘讲座教授,全英中国专业团体联和会副主席,联合国开发计划署和世界银行经济顾问, 到过20个亚非欧国家工作。

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《金融时报》反腐重在除根  

2013-01-15 19:25:09|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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  【《金融时报》2013年1月14日,发表我的文章,《2013年你好,中国反腐重在除根》。大意是克服腐败,光抓人不行,要从体制上下功夫。腐败形成网络,必须打破网络,才能有效节制腐败。文章还讲到外国企业在中国寻求合作和投资时,如何应对中国的腐败。】
   Hello 2013: to fight corruption, China must fight the causes of corruption
   Jan 14, 2013 4:32am by beyondbrics
   By Shujie Yao of Nottingham University
   In less than two months since the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China has investigated five big cases of corruption involving high-level political leaders in Chongqing, Guangdong and Sichuan.
   But simply launching investigations won’t be enough. China’s leaders must also reform their political, economic and social systems to root out the causes of corruption.
   China’s determination to fight corruption is reflected by the top leaders’ bold comments during and after the congress. Hu Jintao, the outgoing party general-secretary, said that if corruption was not contained, the party and the state would die.
   Xi Jinping, who succeeded Hu as the party and military boss after the congress, reinforced his predecessor’s voice in a more subtle manner, saying that one needs to have a strong body to be able to hit iron, a Chinese metaphor meaning that government officials have to be clean to govern well.
   The number of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, the most powerful decision-making body in China, was reduced from nine in the previous party congress to seven this time round, signalling that the party wishes to become more efficient than before.
   Wang Qishan was put in charge of the party’s central disciplinary and investigating committee to fight corruption. As Wang has gained his reputation as an excellent ‘fire fighter’ from within and outside the party since he was tasked to fight the SARS epidemic in 2003 and to organise the Beijing Olympics Games in 2008, his appointment to this powerful and sensitive position is a clear gesture of the party’s determination to contain corruption.
   The only question that people may ask is whether China will be able to resolve the corruption problem by just making the above-mentioned changes. The answer, unfortunately, is probably ‘no’.
   In the last five years, over 660,000 government officials were investigated for corruption of some sort, representing a really high percentage of all the party and state officials. There were many serious cases which involved phenomenal sums of money and officials at or above the ministerial level.
   This means that the CCP has not been hesitant to fight corruption, but why is it the more the party fights corruption, the more is the number of such big and serious cases that emerge all of the time?
   The reason is simple: prosecution is not enough for fighting corruption. Corruption should be prevented through reforming the power structure, avoiding the direct involvement of government officials or their relatives in business activities, reducing the monopolistic power of the large state-controlled enterprises and banks, and enabling a more competitive and aspiring business environment where small and medium-sized enterprises as well as foreign invested firms can flourish and grow.
   Development experiences in western democracies suggest that press freedom is also necessary for reducing corruption, but this month’s mass demonstration by many liberal journalists, students and local residents near the South China Media Group in Guangzhou reveals that freedom of speech can still be a no-go area in China.
   Dealing with corruption is like treating a patient. A good doctor would use more preventive methods than prescribing curative medicines to reduce the patient’s illness. The most effective way to contain corruption is the prevention of corrupt activities rather than the prosecution of corrupt officials.
   Unfortunately, in China today, fighting corruption has largely relied on the prosecution of corrupt officials rather than reforming the political, economic and social systems which provide fertile soil for corruption. This is because the financial benefits of countless rent-seeking opportunities are so large that no one wishes to reform the system.
   Furthermore, fighting corruption is just like a wolf chasing a herd of sheep. Any sheep running slowly and left behind by the rest of the herd gets caught by the wolf. In other words, only those individual corrupt officials who fail to become members of corruption groups are vulnerable to prosecution; and those who are able to be part of a corruption group can protect each other effectively to avoid being investigated and prosecuted.
   As a result, dealing with corruption in China will rely on the party’s ability and willingness to reform the political system so that power is not highly concentrated and controlled by one person or a group of people. In addition, any political group with common economic interests should be broken up by moving people around to different positions on a regular basis. The media should be allowed to investigate and freely criticise wrong-doing by party and state officials.
   Such political reforms to prevent corruption would have significant implications for foreign companies doing business in China.
   For instance, foreign companies might have to change their engagement strategy with Chinese officials. Instead of working with a particular person to have business deals done, they may have to work with a group of government officials. Business contracts would be have to be based more on institutional regulations than on personal contacts or mutual trust.
   Furthermore, China might become more selective in approving new investment projects made by foreign companies. It is clear that the country will focus on seven strategic industries or areas, including high-tech manufacturing, agriculture, medicines, new energies, environmental products, low-carbon technologies, etc.
   Finally, foreign firms might have to pay more attention than in the past to private enterprises, especially the small and medium-sized enterprises with good growth potential, although maintaining a good and strong relationship with the large state-owned enterprises can still be useful in the short- and medium-term.
   But such adjustments would, in the end, benefit foreign companies in China, as they would help create the fair and open markets in which genuinely-competitive businesses do well.
   Shujie Yao is head of the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham
   http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2013/01/14/hello-2013-to-fight-corruption-china-must-fight-the-causes-of-corruption/#axzz2HyWvPMCz

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