They say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In China, where local Communist officials are omnipotent and everything from moving house to having a second child requires a permit, corruption has reached unprecedented levels. Billions of dollars have been embezzled and getting anything done usually involves paying a bribe.
Realising that public anger at corruption was threatening the legitimacy of the Communist Party, President Xi Jingping launched an wave of investigations when he came to power in 2012. ‘Economic crimes’ still carry the death penalty and in the past two years, over 300,000 officials have been punished – including ‘Red Prince’ and Politburo member, Bo Xilai. But is this enough to save the system? After all, as one protestor states: ‘If the people rise up….they are screwed.’
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