Transparency International (TI) and its national contact in China, the Anti-Corruption and Governance Research Centre (ACGRC) at Tsinghua University, as well as the China Society of Administrative Supervision (CSAS) have jointly launched the Transparency International Business Principles for Countering Bribery (BPCB). Around 40 representatives from the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration of the State Council (SASAC), National Development and Reform Commission (NARC), China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), China Ship Building Industry Corporation (CSBIC), China National Machinery & Equipment Corp. (CNMEC), and Shandong Electric Power Corporation attended the launch event.
The Secretary General of CSAS, Mr. Wang Tie, highlighted the fact that the Chinese political leadership is committed to building a government and a society of high integrity. In January 2005, the Chinese Communist Party released a Guideline on Building up a Comprehensive System of Punishment and Prevention of Corruption, with a focus on Education, Institution Building and Supervision, a milestone of China’s Anti-Corruption Movement. From now on, according to Mr. Wang, China will focus more on building a society of integrity, and will encourage all important players in the country to play a more active role in the fight against corruption, especially in the business sector.
Li Zonghao, General Manager of the Supervision Department of COSCO pointed out that given such a situation, it is an urgent issue to promote integrity in the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). In addition, enterprises, as one of the important players in the society, have to play a vital role in building up a society of integrity. Mangers in the SOEs, with both the power and resources, are especially vulnerable to the temptation of corruption and the possibility to corrupt others. Adopting the highest standards of integrity will help the business sector to resist and prevent corruption and improve the image of enterprises and increase the value of businesses. The anti-corruption programmes promoted in COSCO were fully appreciated by its employees. In two surveys in 2002 and 2004, 96% of the employees felt satisfied with them. As a consequence, the number of corruption cases from COSCO has undergone a drastic decline over the past years while its profit increased from 350 million USD in 2003 to 1.5 billion USD in 2004 and 1.2 billion in the first half of 2005.
David Nussbaum, chief executive of Transparency International gave an in-depth presentation of the Business Principles. He stated that given China’s rapidly developing economy and quickly increasing scale of exports, the launch of TI’s Business Principles for Countering Bribery in China now has particular importance. It is in this context that TI has adopted a special approach to promote its work in China, working with both the Government and its National Contact Group based at Tsinghua University. Nussbaum noted that “We appreciated the Chinese political leaders’ firm commitment to the fight against corruption and acknowledge the great progress that China has made in the anti-corruption campaign in the public sector. Nevertheless, we cannot underestimate the risks of bribery in the business sector, which could undermine confidence and impact the reputation of the country”. In order to put an end to bribery in the business sector, it is not enough for an enterprise to rely on a no-bribes policy – effective anti-bribery performance depends on effective implementation of programmes as well as clear commitment. The focus for TI’s Business Principles initiative is on implementation and it sets a good practice framework for an anti-bribery programme.
To read the Chinese-language Business Principles online, click here.
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