As Lobbyists Target The NPC, the Government Targets Corruption

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…and, contrary to what some might think, the lobbyists are not all “malicious foreign” ones! Actually the National People’s Congress (NPC) has become a busy forum for local lobbyists to push local causes. That said, this blogger also saw one or two of the nice, foreign variety in Beijing’s smarter hotels last week.

The People’s Daily (kindly giving the message to the people!) reported the development as:

    “as a step towards a more transparent legal system and more influential legislature”, and that “These proposals reflect public opinion, which will make the central government pay more attention while drafting legislation”.

Examples of lobbying activities included:

  • The China Market Association – asking for better protection for peddlers and other vendors though a “Law of Commodity Exchange Markets”.
  • A Beijing-based lawyer – who proposed a bill to unify tax rates for domestic and foreign-invested companies.
  • A hepatitis B campaigner – seeking legal support for the rights of China’s 120 million carriers, who often suffer discrimination.
  • It was also noted that NPC delegates were being given a bigger roles in proposing legal amendments, and therefore a strong role in representing and protecting the people.

    Meanwhile, in completely unrelated news, the fight against official corruption continues. But some strategies look like they might be more effective than others. One suggestion put forward in Beijing was that officials’ bodyweight be limited in order to ensure they don’t over-indulge in potentially corrupting banquets. Another threat to officialdom has come in the form of golden (or even platinum) books, bought as gifts for (and by) officials at prices of RMB10,000 (US$1,250) and up.

    The problem obviously goes beyond gold books, and it is reported (by the Party’s Central Discipline Inspection Commission) that The Chinese Communist Party disciplined more than 115,000 members for corruption in 2005, including 15,000 cases that ended up in court.

    As part of the fight against corruption generally, an official list of those convicted of bribery (since 1997 in the areas of construction, finance, education, health and government procurement) has been put online. The stakes are big, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has estimated that corruption accounts for 3 to 5 percent of China’s gross domestic product (GDP), or between RMB409 billion and RMB683 billion.

    In China the maximum punishment for taking a bribe is the death sentence, while for bribe-givers, it is a life jail term. It is reported that in 2000, 1,298 people were charged with offering bribes while the number in 2004 was 1,952. Last year China the National People’s Congress also ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which defines the offering of bribes or “undue advantages” to public officials as “criminal offences.”

    The government has made the reduction in the urban-rural wealth gap, and the protection of the rights of rural population, a key policy platform. Publicly addressing the issue of corruption, especially in relation to local officials, is likely to become a common theme.

    See news sources:

    Lobbyists target China legislators
    China Daily – China
    China’s legislature is taking on a new role: a target for interest groups to lobby. With nearly 3,000 delegates gathered in the …

    Fight graft with fat cat slimming drive, China urged
    China Daily – China
    … funds. Low-level bribery in China often takes the form of elaborate banquets, which, unlike cash, cannot be traced after being eaten. …

    Sales of “golden books” in China arouse suspicion of corruption
    Xinhua – China
    BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhuanet) — Sales of “golden books” on Chinese market, including books made of gold foils or platinum and gilded books, have aroused public …

    China Cracks Down on Corruption
    Communist Party Says It Punished 115,000 Members
    By Edward Cody
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Wednesday, February 15, 2006; Page A18

    Bribe-givers in China to be blacklisted 2005-11-03 08:14:22

    China makes public ‘blacklist’ of bribers
    Updated: 2006-01-02 16:23

    5 January, 2006
    Beijing publishes online corruption “blacklist”
    The list features all the names of those found guilty of bribery from 1997 to the present day. The phenomenon is rampant in the country and accounts for between 409 and 683 billion yuan per year.

    One Response to “As Lobbyists Target The NPC, the Government Targets Corruption”

    1. Archive » Villains, Villas and Mistresses. Corruption in China| China Business Blog Says:

      […] Convention Against Corruption, to which it signed up in 2003 (as also noted in our post “As Lobbyists Target The NPC, the Government Targets Corruption”). The report notes: “The sec […]

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