Corruption in China

If you look at government corruption rankings, it’s no coincidence that democracies tend to predominate among the non-corrupt countries. Simply put, the main way that corruption gets exposed is through a combination of a free press and active, opportunistic opposition parties eager to make hay out of corruption scandals. The Chinese government has had a great deal of success in making autocracy work, but their anti-corruption efforts mostly seem to be highlighting how poorly they’re doing on this score: “Chinese officials misused or embezzled about $35 billion in government money in the first 11 months of the year, according to a national audit released this week.”

There’s also a lesson here for the American right. A consistent theme in right-wing thinking about civil liberties and detention issues seems to be the idea that if only you got the ACLU and their pesky judges out of the way, then we’d then have a hyper-efficient, super-competent law enforcement and intelligence system. The reality is likely different. By curbing democratic control on the government, you would in practice be empowering more abuse and corruption.