Tigers & Flies

In case you haven’t heard there’s a significant crackdown on corrupt officials in China. Indeed, the biggest anti-corruption drive since the founding of the P.R.C. in 1949 is underway. More than 60,000 party officials, including 30 senior figures, have been punished and 70 officials under investigation have committed suicide. Since becoming general secretary of the Communist party in November 2012, Xi Jinping has sworn to catch and prosecute “tigers” (senior party officials) and “flies” (low level cadres).

Moreover, in an effort to deter “tigers and flies” from engaging in corruption, some 200 high risk personnel have visited prisons that hold officials convicted of graft. How successful have the visits been? It is difficult to say but a statement by the National Development and Reform Commission said, “the visiting officials were frightened by what they saw and heard from the cadres behind bars.”

Maybe there’s a lesson here for preventing corruption in U.S. cities, counties, states, and the Congress.

Sources: Financial Times August 4, 2014, http://www.ft.com/home/us; Austin Ramzy, August 6, 2014, International New York Times http://international.nytimes.com

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