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Corruption in China: Shenyang

Paul Simon forwards a letter of corruption in China from a Brown University alumnus, John Pomfret. Here is an extract:

"One Corrupt City Reflects Scourge Plaguing China. When investigators searched two country houses belonging to Shenyang's mayor, they found $6 million worth of gold bars hidden in the walls, 150 Rolex watches, computer files documenting years of illegal activities and what they thought was a treasure-trove of antiques. The gold and Rolexes were real, but Chinese sources said the antiques turned out to be bogus, proving that in China even crooks get ripped off.The corruption that ran and some say still runs through this rust-belt city of 8 million people, China's fourth largest, in the wintry northeast, is emblematic of the rot that has infected the Chinese state, Chinese and foreign observers say. And the half-hearted measures taken to deal with Shenyang's malfeasance, they add, show that the political system here, based on favoritism and relationships instead of law, is not equipped to deal with the scourge

Premier Zhu Rongji underlined the extent of the problem yesterday in a report opening the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing. "Festivals and ceremonies of every conceivable description are celebrated," Zhu said, "during which the hosts vie with one another for lavishness. Officials use public funds for wining and dining, extravagant entertainment and private travel abroad."

But Zhu offered few new ideas to clean up the mess. He proposed a code of conduct and expressed a wish for "moral standards based on honesty and moral integrity." The Communist Party leadership already vowed to the legislature several years ago to deal with corruption by 2001. Reports that pop up from around the country, however, make it clear the problem is far from solved".

Ronald Hilton - 3/6/02