China pans anti-corruption group for lower ranking

AP News
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Posted: Dec 05, 2014 3:04 AM

BEIJING (AP) — A Communist Party-run newspaper criticized Berlin-based Transparency International on Friday for failing to recognize the achievements of China's anti-corruption campaign, after the organization's latest corruption index shows China is faring worse.

In the Corruption Perception Index 2014 released this week, China dropped to the 100th place out of 175 countries, sharply down from last year's 80th place.

The party-run Global Times said that Transparency International has lost credibility and that it turned a blind eye to the crackdown that snared hundreds of officials since late 2012 when President Xi Jinping took power as the ruling party's chief.

"Its credibility has plunged in Chinese public opinion with China's rapid drop on the index," the editorial read.

Transparency International said in an explanatory note that the rankings are based on surveys of country experts and businesspeople. It said China's public sector lacks transparency and accountability despite the crackdown. In particular, it said Washington-based World Justice Project gave China a lower score in criminal justice.

"Bringing the corrupt to justice is important, but a more transparent judicial system would do more to convince people that the campaign is part of a lasting change," said the note written by Rukshana Nanayakkara, regional outreach manager for the Asia-Pacific Region.

"What will help are transparency reforms such as publishing all spending online and passing laws that protect citizens, reporters and bloggers who expose corruption,"Nanayakkara wrote.

Several Chinese courts this year jailed activists who had called for public disclosure of officials' assets on the ground that their acts disturbed public order. Web users also have been hushed from exposing possible corrupt deeds under strict new online regulations.

Transparency International also noted that Chinese officials can easily launder ill-gained loot offshore, and that China is the world's biggest exporter of illicit money.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the latest index does not acknowledge the "remarkable achievements of China's anti-corruption campaign" and said that Transparency International should be "more objective and just."