The last dozen years saw fast economic growth at phenomenal
rates in China. The last dozen years also saw bribery and
corruption widespread at a phenomenal speed in China.
Previously many thought the crime of bribery/corruption
of Chinese style was mainly committed by corrupt government
officials and sinister local businessmen. But new evidences
show that there is in fact a third party involved: a certain
number of multinational companies doing business in China.
According to some figures released by the relevant organisations,
of 500,000 bribery/corruption allegations investigated in
the past ten years, 64 percent are related to international
trade and multinational companies.
Bribery by multinational corporations in China has presented
a serious threat in the local business environment. And even
more disturbing is the new trends displayed with respect
to BBM, which include:
The values of the transaction that involved bribery
It often includes luxury real estate properties overseas,
and financial assistance to cover the living expenses for
the official and his family members while staying abroad.
The methods of the bribery become more innovative
Now the most used method of bribery is not of direct monetary
payment from one part to another, but by way of a third
party transfer into the bribe receivers' overseas accounts.
Other methods that have been found include helping the
offspring of the corrupt party to pursue their career interests
or achieve business success. The bribe company may provide
the youngest with opportunities to study aboard, or offering
partnership to assist him in developing his own business,
or simply inviting her to take up a position as the multinational
company’s representative in China.
As to the corrupt officials, the rewards to their "services" could
be overseas training trips, or gifts after retirement.
One of the most igneous practices is to supply a mistress
to a bribery target. Those multinational companies would
take care of everything, from searching for right candidate,
organising her living arrangement to sponsoring her to
But the most intricate of all is to make an organise approach
through multinational business association and to arrange
their own men to the key positions in the government.
The action of bribery becomes harder to define
In some cases it is not a certain individual who accepts
bribe but an entire organisation or institute. And the
bribe or kickback often assumes a legitimate appearance
such as setting up science research foundations, providing
joint research programs, inviting to work as consultants,
initiating research visits overseas, offering research
awards, purchasing artworks by the bribery targets, or
buying the copyrights of their books.
The target level of the bribery becomes higher
Evidently some multinational corporations are no longer
content with their influence at local government levels.
They want to go higher and now are targeting the officials
in the central government. Their goals are to see China
adopt policies that would allow them to secure big government
contracts, to pay cheap prices for land acquisitions and
to further lower the wages of local workers. They are not
merely a passive part in the whole bribery/corruption game.
Take the case of the former president of China Construction
Bank, Zhang Enzhao, who was sentenced to 15-years imprisonment
last month. His long road to get himself behind the bars
began at an overseas golf course four years ago.