Summer 2018

How Not to Fight Corruption: Lessons from China

Minxin Pei
Xi Jinping’s administration has exhibited a strong commitment to reducing corruption in China. But most of the policies he has pursued have been punitive rather than prevention-based and have functioned essentially as a political purge. Plans based on enforcement often appeal to leaders of authoritarian countries, as their tight control over their polities makes it easier to enforce anticorruption rules, and they net political capital for leaders in the short run. The lack of autonomous, prevention-based institutional measures also creates a risk that anticorruption efforts will be politicized or selectively enforced. Minxin Pei explores this phenomenon in the Chinese context, highlighting the shortcomings of Xi’s enforcement-centered anticorruption policy.
To read this essay or subscribe to Dædalus, visit the Dædalus access page
Access now