From the West, China appears to be impenetrably corrupt and non-transparent.
The only tangible way we have seen the government’s anti-corruption drive is within the depressed earnings of Western companies that sell luxury goods. Gambling revenues in Macau are down 32%, according to Bloomberg. Prada, Mulberry, Remy Cointreau, Diageo, LVMH, and the high-end car and watch market have all seen sales fall because their products are no longer being used as bribes in China.
But Praveen Choudhary and her team at Morgan Stanley compiled this data from China’s “Central Commission for Discipline Inspection,” which shows tens of thousands of Chinese officials being charged criminally, imprisoned or otherwise “disciplined”:
Morgan Stanley writes:
The anti-graft campaign in China started in November 2012. Initially, it impacted areas like F&B [food and beverage] and banquets in five star hotels, Chinese consumer discretionary, e.g. restaurants, European and Chinese spirits, e.g. Cognac and Maotai, and European luxury brands and watches. The campaign intensified in early 2014, as more officials were disciplined and arrested, affecting the gambling industry (most materially Macau). The number of officials being disciplined has remained high this year, but the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in September 2015 announced their intention to create institutions/processes to prevent corruption in future.
The anti-corruption campaign is about to move into a new phase. The CCDI is urging members of the public to rat out officials they see accepting gifts or bribes, according to The Diplomat, an Asia policy magazine:
For example, the CCDI has encouraged ordinary Chinese to start a “taking pictures of corruption when you see it” campaign, meaning that ordinary Chinese should use their cell phones to take pictures of government officials who engage in practices suggestive of corruption such as luxury eating and drinking. They can upload the pictures to the website of the CCDI so Wang’s agency can start its investigation as soon as possible.
The CCDI is hoping to create a “third stage” of its anti-graft effort, in which officials “do not even think about engaging in corruption.”
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