Asia Pacific: growing economies, growing corruption

The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index scores of countries from Asia Pacific, the world’s fastest growing region, are a resounding message to leaders that, despite many public declarations and commitments, not enough is being done to fight corruption.

Out of the 28 Asia Pacific countries in the index, which account for nearly 61 per cent of the world’s population, the majority lag behind in their efforts in fighting corruption in the public sector, with 18 scoring less than 40 out of 100 (on a scale where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 very clean).

The Corruption Perceptions Index measures corruption in the public sector, which is accountable to the government. The persistent low scores ask a critical question to the leadership of Asian countries, which have full control of the conduct of its public services. This about the leadership.

For China and India, two countries where new leadership are pursuing anti-corruption drives, the index is a harsh reality check.

Corruption grows in China despite campaign

In 2014 we have heard a lot about government efforts to prosecute corruption, and corruption scandals in China. Its commitment to catch “tigers and flies” – public officials big and small – indicates the government is serious in its commitment. The government also recognised the needs for China’s international efforts, launching a “fox hunt” of officials overseas and withdrawing opposition to G20 anti-corruption measures.

However, China shows a downward trend in the index (with a score of 36) in comparison to last year (40), posing a hugely challenging question: how effective is a top-down approach when you don’t have transparency, accountable government and free media and civil society?

The recent prosecutions in China are largely seen as efforts to clamp down on political opponents of the regime as opposed to genuine anti-corruption commitments.

Given the penetration and impact of colossal corruption to every scale of state and society, the 2014 index score shows the need for a wide range of reforms, several of which are listed in this blog.

China’s attitude towards transparency and governance is important to the wider region, given its growing influence. If its spreads an economic model based on less transparency and accountability and excluding civil society, it will bode ill for the corruption fight in other countries too.

India’s score remains low

India’s vibrant democracy reveals the flip side of the coin. Despite the engagement, innovation and participation of vibrant civil society, media and people at large, corruption continues to be one of the country’s biggest challenges.

It reveals India’s bitter reality of political corruption: the inadequacy of structures of accountability and transparency to deter the corrupt and the access to such mechanisms by the people. The problem urges the conversion of political commitment to concrete action at the highest level of government. In May, a Transparency International report warned that India, along with other countries in South Asia, needs stronger law enforcement, corruption watchdogs and protection of whistleblowers.

Together with India (38) and China (36), the poor scores of other emerging markets in the region – such as Malaysia (52), Philippines and Thailand (both 38) and Indonesia (34) – indicate a general weak or ineffective leadership to counter corruption, posing threats for both sustainability of their economies and somewhat fragile democracies.

The Corruption Perceptions Index sends a message to countries at the crossroads: Myanmar (21) Afghanistan (12) and North Korea (8), grappling with the issue of fighting endemic corruption in their countries. All rank towards the bottom of the index. It sends a loud statement that leaders must create societies that are more systematically resistant to corruption. That means taking a more inclusive approach to fighting corruption.

Unmask the Corrupt campaign banner

Share and enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • TwitThis
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • MisterWong
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • YahooBuzz
  • Print
  • email
Srirak Plipat

About Srirak Plipat

Srirak Pilpat is Regional Director of the Asia Pacific Department at Transparency International.

, , , , , ,

15 Responses to Asia Pacific: growing economies, growing corruption

  1. 高宇东 4 December 2014 at 12:08 am #

    I think it is not fair simply asserting that Chinese anti-corruption is a failure. If you have detailed report, please publish. Instead of just present some stupid numbers.

  2. Hazim 11 December 2014 at 5:04 am #

    Could you please explain why on this year (2014) report, there are no report / results on Brunei?.

    Hope to receive your explanation. Thank you.

  3. Shawn 12 February 2015 at 7:40 pm #

    Isn’t it interesting to observe that China and India have a comparable level of corruption, despite one being an authoritarian state and the other being a democracy? It suggests that the susceptibility to corruption depends more on the maturity of a country’s overall development and is not inherent to the political system it has.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Grande balzo indietro nella classifica dei paesi più corrotti - CINAFORUM - 3 December 2014

    […] international, oltre a rilevare che nella maggior parte dell’Asia la corruzione cresce assieme al fatturato delle economie nazionali, sul caso Cina si chiede: […]

  2. Insights on Global Corruption - Insights on Global Corruption - 4 December 2014

    […] anti-corruption measures have garnered significant media attention over the past year. However, China only scored 36 out of 100 and is among the report’s largest fallers, with a drop of four points compared to the 2013 […]

  3. Even as Xi Pushes Antigraft Campaign, China Falls in Annual Corruption Ranking « Malaysia Daily News - 4 December 2014

    […] the government is serious,” wrote Transparency’s Srirak Plipat in a blog post on the organization’s website […]

  4. Growing Economy Growing Corruption - transparency-korea.org - 4 December 2014

    […] Read more at the blog here: http://blog.transparency.org/2014/12/03/asia-pacific-growing-economies-growing-corruption/ […]

  5. There is no need to brag about India doing better than China on the corruption index – Quartz - 4 December 2014

    […] that don’t respond to citizens’ needs. Transparency International’s Srirak Plipat said the low scores are “a resounding message to leaders that, despite many public declarations […]

  6. There is no need to brag about India doing better than China on the corruption … | Google News Today - 4 December 2014

    […] and open institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs. Transparency International’s Srirak Plipat said a low scores are “a resounding summary to leaders that, notwithstanding many open declarations […]

  7. There is no need to brag about India doing better than China on the corruption … – Quartz | Easy Phone Market - 4 December 2014

    […] and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs. Transparency International’s Srirak Plipat said the low scores are “a resounding message to leaders that, despite many public declarations and […]

  8. Report: Corruption Rank of India Improved a Bit - 4 December 2014

    […] As per press release: […]

  9. There is no need to brag about India doing better than China on the corruption index | Trending Buzz - 4 December 2014

    […] and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs. Transparency International’s Srirak Plipat said the low scores are “a resounding message to leaders that, despite many public declarations and […]

  10. E-Sandesh » There is no need to brag about India doing better than China on the corruption … - 4 December 2014

    […] and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs. Transparency International’s Srirak Plipat said the low scores are “a resounding message to leaders that, despite many public declarations and […]

  11. Running in reverse: the world’s ‘nuclear power renaissance’ | Eco Bio III Millennio - 29 January 2015

    […] risks arising from political instability, governance challenges, and “colossal corruption [at] every scale of state and society“. […]

  12. India beats China at tackling corruption, but not by much - Firstpost - 24 February 2015

    […] On its blog on the findings, Transparency International said that China’s fall in the rankings was just proof that despite the Chinese government and premier promising to take on corruption, it hadn’t necessarily shown an improvement on the ground. […]