It’s a vicious cycle and we are all guilty of turning its wheels, its seeped into every layer of our society and even though we frown upon it, when work needs to get done we abuse it. Yes Corruption exists everywhere, but taking a cue from its more democratic neighbor, Chinese citizens are ranting about ministers, officials and managers accepting bribes, foreign holidays or Prada bags.
Following the internet success of the Indian website “I paid a bribe” China has emulated India in Chinese confess-a-bribe websites, including “I Made a Bribe“. At a time when papers need to be pushed, deals need to be closed or a signature obtained, the Chinese much like the Indians are used to paying bribes. While bribes in China are often not in the form of hard cash carefully slipped between wedges of paper like in India, it is one of the reasons China’s luxury goods market is flourishing.
“Stop seeking improper gains and promote equal competition, and return to us the dream of a fair China,” says the Chinese-language front-page of the “I Made a Bribe” website.
China’s flourishing economy, hungry to grow bigger, better and faster has seen corruption multiply, however the common man, who always receives the shorter stick has much to grumble about. Although Beijing is trying to eradicate corruption, capitalism now triumphs communism and is effectively stamping out a spotless economy.
On another new Chinese confess-a-bribe website (http://www.522phone.com), one businessman said he had paid 3 million yuan (US$463,000) to officials to win contracts, including taking a planning official on a 10-day tour of Europe.
“Don’t think I’m trying to show off my wealth with this posting,” the businessman wrote. “It’s just I’m so toothless and helpless in the face of current-day society.”
“We hate corrupt officials, but we’re desperate to be recruited as officials. We hate monopolies, but wrack our brains to get into high-paying employers. We mock bent ways, but then try to pull personal connections to get our own business done.”
Other postings on the sites included stories of kickbacks for permission to sell medicine, underhand sell-offs of state-owned mines to cronies, payments of money and cigarettes to pass driving school, and “red envelopes” of cash to doctors to ensure expectant mothers were well treated.
Lastly, with the world’s highest number of internet users, complaints are increasingly being aired and gathering steam online. While many anti-corruption websites are started by government officials to weed out the disgraceful, Chinese citizens are also taking matters into their own hands. Many use double meanings of words – homophones to fox internet censors and get their anti-corruption messages out.