He Minxu rose to deputy governor of Anhui province before his corruption was uncovered. (Photo/CFP)
The large majority of 72 government officials confirmed to have been involved in corruption enjoyed promotions during their time in public service, according to a researcher cited by the China Youth Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League.
"Their corruption is mainly financial and political in nature. The political corruption is mainly the buying and selling of official positions," says a research paper authored by Tu Qian, a graduate student at Shenzhen University's Contemporary Chinese Politics Research Institute. The research investigated 72 provincial level government officials who were found to be involved in corruption over the past decade. Of them, 80% were promoted during their duties.
Most of the corrupt officials studied held deputy-level positions, accounting for 70%. Of the total, 31 are aged between 56 and 62, and 19 are aged 49 to 55.
The research further analyzed 55 officials whose acts of corruption can be accurately dated, finding 21 of them engaged in corrupt practices for a span of at least a decade. The figures reveal that from an official's first transgression, an average of nine years elapsed before their deeds were exposed.
The research also observed changes in the officials' duties during their period of corruption, finding most of them had been promoted at least once. "This means those corrupt officials were no only able to stay safe during this period, but were also able to prevent their deeds from being discovered even after the authorities' internal investigations, audits and financial probes. They wielded greater and greater power as they were promoted to higher positions," the research continues, "The greater power they held, the less likely it became that their corruption would become known. This is a vicious trend."
"You endorse me for an official position, and I reward you with money," says Li Chengyan, a professor at the School of Government at Peking University, explaining that the selling and buying of official positions is in fact a raw exchange of money for power. The promotion of government officials should be approved by means of a public vote, Li said. He also suggested that a system of reporting officials' financial dealings regulated by law should be established. Details of government officials' financial holdings and transactions should be held by a public department instead of by his or her own team.
Tu Qian 涂謙
Li Chengyan 李成言