Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's blog

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

A corrupt anti-corruption campaign?

After he became China’s President, Xi Jinping made fighting corruption a central part of his domestic policy agenda. In line with this, state anti-corruption organs have investigated tens of thousands of Chinese Communist Party officials and government bureaucrats and numerous high-ranking officials at the central and provincial government levels have lost their posts or party membership, or have been put in jail. Many foreign companies welcome the anti-corruption campaign in concept because it means, if it works, they do not have to offer “gifts” or find “middlemen” and that they will not be at a competitive disadvantage if home country laws, scruples, or both preclude them from providing a gift.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

More about riches than reform

In late February 2014, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) announced that it would give private investors an opportunity to invest in its domestic marketing and distribution operations. Many took this as an initial, positive sign that the government truly wanted to increase the role of private investment in the economy in line with policy pronouncements made during and following the Chinese Communist Party’s November 2013 18th Congress Third Party Plenum, and to reform state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The opening of Sinopec to foreign investment seemed to be based on the view that foreign investment provided a way to increase efficiency, decrease bureaucracy, and experiment with different SOE reforms.