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Report: China dealing well with corruption as the rest of Asia lags behind

Corruption has been one of the core challenges posing an obstacle to socio-economic development in the Asian continent. Proper governance often times is hijacked by instances of improper use of personal connection, sexual extortion, voter influence and of course, perhaps most traditionally linked to corruption - bribery. China, one of the most developed countries in the continent has been no stranger to corruption however this trend seems to be changing according to it’s citizens.


Transparency International, a non-profit organization placing it’s focus on fighting corruption globally and preventing unlawful activity as a direct cause of corruption often conducts research into current trends linked to the aforementioned issues. According to Transparency International’s most recent report there is widespread belief amongst the Chinese people that corruption has declined over the past year. The new report published by the organization which surveyed close to 20,000 people throughout 17 countries in Asia, has found that a strong majority of people in China believe that the government has done a fair job in combating and preventing instances of corruption, spearheaded mostly by President Xi Jinping.


One of the main platforms upon which China’s current President Xi Jinping based his campaign run in 2012 was a pledge to weed out corruption in the country. Following his entry to office the President’s anti-corruption campaign has led to the investigation of millions of officials leading also to substantial convictions. Despite the seemingly good intentions of this campaign, many have accused the President using this as a tool to limit the rise of political opponents or dispose of them altogether. Despite these criticisms, the majority of the general population who took part in the report (a whopping 84%) has told Transparency International that they believe that the Chinese government was dealing with corruption effectively.

China was not the only country to be mentioned positively in the new report. Developing nations such as Philippines and Cambodia also seem to be combating corruption effectively in the eyes of their people, but these countries seem to be outliers in citing progress as the rest of Asia lags far behind with 66% of people thinking that the phenomenon had either gotten worse or stayed the same. Upon a closer inspection, results seem quite contradictory for example in the case of Cambodia. As previously mentioned, citizens felt corruption was being dealt with well however upon closer investigation it seems as though the country has one of the highest rates of bribery in Asia, putting in question some of the non-profit’s findings.


Negative trends were reported in the cases of Nepal and Thailand where the numbers indicate that citizens feel that corruption is on the rise. It is no surprise then with numbers such as these that Thailand seems to be the hardest hit by corruption. The country has been shaken by civil unrest taking the form of pro-democracy protests over the past four months due to scandals showcasing how high profile figures in the country can do as they please with no fear of potential repercussions. Many of the people involved in the protests have stated that they believe there is no citizen who should be above the law including even Thailand’s king Maha Vajiralongkorn.


An interesting additional finding in the report serves to highlight inefficient processes within developing Asian nations such as a statistic indicating that 30% of people used personal connections because they believed that they would not have received the service they required had they done otherwise.


While the news coming out of China and other countries like the Philippines seems positive, the thorough report by Transparency International serves as a stark reminder that there is still much work to be done when it comes to fighting corruption and ensuring proper governance in Asia.


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