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Great Disorder under Heaven: Endemic Corruption and Rapid Growth in Contemporary China

Andrew Wedeman
China Review
Vol. 4, No. 2, Special Issue on: Corruption in China (Fall 2004), pp. 1-32
Published by: Chinese University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23461882
Page Count: 32
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Great Disorder under Heaven: Endemic Corruption and Rapid Growth in Contemporary China
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Abstract

It is widely assumed that the deepening of reform has fuelled a worsening of corruption in China and that China now faces a "crisis of corruption." Based on three sets of data, this article assesses the extent to which corruption has in fact worsened. Using time series official statistics, it shows that corruption has "intensified" as the number of senior officials charged with corruption and the amount of corrupt monies reported increased substantially beginning in the mid-1990s. Nevertheless, comparative data show that despite this intensification China is not particularly corrupt by global standards. Historical analysis, finally, shows that the current mix of rapid development and intensifying corruption is not unique to China. Successful developers like Japan, South Korea, the United States, and Great Britain also experienced a surge in corruption during the early stages of their economic take-off.

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