Corruption dominates discussion among Chinese at present, according to a new official report. According the report, 57 percent of what people are talking about — “the public opinion situation” in the official jargon — relates to the Party’s current anticorruption efforts against local Party officials. The percentage is decreasing, however, as focus shifts to corruption and anticorruption campaigning at the national level.
The figure came from the 2013 Edition of the Chinese Public Opinion and Crisis Management Report, published on Aug. 19 jointly by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Shanghai Jiaotong University’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory. Such official publications are called Blue Books in China.
“Shooting tigers” and “swatting at flies” have become metaphors for such anticorruption efforts, referring to national and local-level offenses respectively. Xi Jinping, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, has advocated combating both, though many question whether he is serious about pursuing big cases of corruption. Dissidents who have called for the disclosure of official assets have found themselves arrested by the Party’s political police, leading many to suspect that Xi’s remarks are more for rhetorical and propaganda purposes, rather than a sincere campaign to root out graft at the highest levels.
The Blue Book considers the “flies” to be more damaging than the “tigers”, since corruption at the local level directly affects the livelihood of the average person and damages the credibility of the regime, it says.
In 2012, events that drew public concern for periods of two weeks to a month received the most media coverage. Two major examples include a sex scandal involving incriminating footage of former Chongqing city official Lei Zhengfu, a case of nepotism in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province, in which an ex-housing official’s daughter was found in the dubious possession of 11 houses.
Other cases that caught the public’s eye include bribery charges against a professor from Hunan province, the extramarital affairs of an ex-director of Guangdong’s Shantou City Highway Bureau, the misuse of funds originally meant for children’s welfare by an official charity organization, and an incident in which a former Party secretary of Fengcheng City in Liaoning Province allegedly fled the country with 200 million yuan.