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Free «Practice Combating Corruption in Indonesia and China» Essay Sample

Introduction

Corruption is an endemic problem to many countries around the world. In Indonesia the corruption perception has been on the decline in the last ten years since the election of president Yudhoyono, on the platform of fighting corruption. During his tenure, a number of institutions have been formed under the initiative of the government such as the Corruption Eradication Commission and several anti-corruption courts which have been established throughout the country. Moreover, Indonesian government has found it necessary to bring on board other stakeholders such as civil societies and non-governmental organizations to try and educate the general public on problems caused by corruption and also establish networks of anti-corruption agents. In China, corruption became rampant in 1978 during the reforms and opening era after the collapse of the communist regime. Government officials embarked on corruption practices that were mainly meant to benefit their friends and cronies in the government. Indeed, currently corruption stands out as one of the most social problems facing the Chinese society second only to unemployment. However, the government in Beijing has initiated a number of reforms including investment of  a lot of resources and expertise in anti-corruption work on their agenda and also strengthened anti-corruption efforts by establishing anti-corruption agencies and institutions. This proposal seeks to study how to combat corruption in Indonesia and China.

Justification of the Study

Corruption plays a major role in the stalling of social activities around the world. Many countries have failed to reach their goals of providing better services in education, security, health, and many other spheres because some individuals in the society are corrupt and thus channel public resources for their  selfish interests. Establishing the real causes of corruption and coming up with ways to combat the vice is a great step towards realization of a just society where everyone is satisfied with life. This study will provide a rich set of information that will help the Chinese and Indonesian governments and anti-corruption institutions to formulate better policies to curb corruption in their  countries. The study will add value to the existing knowledge on fighting corruption and suggest ways  to educate the society on the effects of corruption.

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Study Objectives and Goals

The main objective of this study is to evaluate the current systems which have been put in place by the Indonesian and Chinese governments to fight corruption. It also seeks to identify the loopholes through which individuals can perpetuate corruption despite the existing systems. The study also seeks to analyze the existing institutions for fighting corruption in Indonesia and China and evaluate their role besides establishing the existing impediments to the sufficient implementation of their role as anti-corruption actors.

Study Questions

  1. What are the social and economic causes of corruption in Indonesia and China?
  2. What are the anti-corruption actors in Indonesia and China? How have they implemented their role to fight corruption in the last ten years?
  3. How is the public informed about the problems of corruption in their respective country and how do they feel about the government’s role in fighting corruption?
  4. What are the challenges of fighting corruption in China and Indonesia?

Literature Review

According to Smith (2012, p. 16), the level of foreign direct investment in China and the huge number of business transactions that take place daily have necessitated the thriving cases of corruption in the country. As a result, there have been concerted efforts from law enforcers and international anti-corruption agencies  to reinforce policies and regulations regarding bribes and corruptible dealings. At the national level, the People’s Supreme Prosecutorate has increased its investigative activities for bribery and corruption cases. This is evident in the increase of the hotline numbers dedicated to whistle-blowing on cases of corruption which are open daily to the public. Anti-corruption legislations have become a hotcake among Chinese legislators,  as authorities look forward to achieving the remarkable economic growth through investments in the public sector.  According to Smith (2012, p. 27)  China was regarded as the epitome of corruption in 1970s with  its major city Hong Kong having been  plagued with organized criminal scandals and criminal gangs which were connected to the law enforcement agencies. During this time, Hong Kong was classified as one of the most corrupt cities in the world. This is because extortion and bribery were part of business deals. However, things changed drastically with the creation of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 1974. The commission helped to uncover and prosecute major bribery scandals at the time besides bringing prosecution charges against hundreds of government officials and law enforcers

The definition of what constitutes corruption varies from one society to another. This is because of the difference in ethics and culture that characterizes some activities as corruption while others as gestures of goodwill. For instance, in China, it is common for people to give out gifts in accordance with  their cultural practice commonly known as guanxi. However, with the existence of a dual economy in the country where there are as much foreigner investors as there are locals, the extent to which guanxi is practiced in China and the kind of gifts given between two people who are doing business together confirms the existence of widespread corruption in the country. This is especially so among government officials who have the mandate to give permits to investors whether local or international.  According to Chinese officials, corruption entails using public resources and public authority for purposes of private benefits - Yi Quan Mu Si. The definition of corruption is thus vast but can change depending on the several factors which exist during the time of giving and receiving of bribes.

In the contemporary Chinese society, corruption is linked to the negative aspects and unnecessary tendencies by party officials and governmental agencies. Because of the immense boundaries where corruption can successfully be committed, anti-corruption efforts in China inculcate a fight against all aspects which are included in the official definition. Generally, corruption in China is seen in terms of abuse or misuse of public resources in comparison with the laid down rules and legal practices or even proper use of public resources for solely private benefits. As noted by Smith (2012, p. 16), this view presents the anti-corruption committee with a number of dilemmas in prosecuting people who are accused of corruption in China. On the one hand,  the view implies a stringent and tight standard which is used by the Chinese government to define and determine corruption because this can easily include activities which are done in good faith but which the person ends up benefiting privately from his or her activities. On the other side, with the existing legal practices and ethical and moral standards espoused in the Chinese society, it is possible to  determine and prosecute corruption depending on a situation, especially in cases involving only two individuals where it can easily be argued on the side of cultural practice of guanxi (Smith, 2012, p. 40)

The extent to which authorities take cases of corruption in China is serious to the level that those who are proved to have accepted bribes are given death sentences by the judges. For instance, a case involving China Mobile Ltd and its executive Shi Wanzhong in 2011 in which Shi was accused of accepting millions of dollars from Siemens AG saw the manager handed a death sentence by the court. However, this is a case in isolation because many people who engage in corruption in China are top executives and government officials which make prosecution difficult because of the bureaucracies involved in such cases. The mega bribery cases in China are still pending in courts. With thousands of corruption cases taking place every day, the government has formulated a policy to define the minimum amount of money which should be given or received for a case to be regarded  bribery. For instance, individual cases involve $1600 while for organizations the amount is even higher. The public is also given information through education forums in which anti-corruption officials from anti-corruption actors across the country carry out public education forums to educate them on the disadvantages of corruption and how it affects the society (Zengke, 2000, p. 248).

Despite the fact that China has made great steps in achieving economic independence since the reform era started by the president Xiaoping in 1978, cases of corruption seem to increase as the market in China opens up for foreign investments. For instance, the entry of Wal-Mart in the Chinese market was without bribery claims where it was alleged that former vice president was involved in helping Wal-Mart to set up shops across the country. As a result of the bribery claims, the Chinese who are working in the chain store are forced to work in deplorable conditions because the company must make money to recover for what it gave out as a bribe for the license to operate. In actual practice, the people who  in Wal-Mart stores  work in unfavorable conditions and get poor payment because a bribe was paid to the government officials to start the business in the country. As has been the practice in China, the dynamic nature of the Chinese society together with the reforms carried by anti-corruption agencies has led to the emergence of new forms of corruption. However, a number of traditionally known forms of corruption such as embezzlement of community’s fund, graft, nepotism, and selling of government posts are  things that  require  initiative from local anti-corruption players to eliminate the vice (Zengke, 2000, p. 255).

In its turn,  the Indonesian nation is one of the largest economies in terms of market with a population of over 125 million people. The country dominates in Southeast Asia in foreign direct investment having doubled in the last two years to 40 percent (Smith, 2012, p. 35). Because of the vibrant market in Indonesia, many foreign companies have  moved to Indonesia in unprecedented numbers, but this has brought about the challenge of bribery and corruption where government officials collaborate with company managers to receive licenses for the purposes of doing business in the country. Like in China, Indonesia  faces the challenge of outlining the boundary between corruption and cultural practices where business partners can give gifts and presents to their partners upon the completion of a business deal.

Despite the increased investment by big companies from America and Japan, Indonesia has serious issues with corruption and bribery. However, there are notable improvements in the process of obtaining licenses to do business in the country from various government departments evidenced from the plummeting number of cases of bribery for processing of license documents. This achievement is brought about by greater cooperation between different stakeholders and anti-corruption agencies in the country which have helped to bring individual and public officers to court whenever they are found to commit corruption. Under president Yudhoyono, many plans and initiatives have been started in order to accelerate the process of eradicating corruption from the public and private sectors in the country. According to the president Yudhoyono during the 2012 Anti-Corruption Day, the country’s anti-corruption instruments handled 1961 corruption cases, which helped  the country save billions of money. Nevertheless, as noted by Smith (2012, p. 16), this is a little step compared to the gravity of corruption cases in the country, and Indonesia still has a long way to go in the fight against corruption.

Generally, Indonesia has made a great step in the fight against corruption. For instance, some policies are specifically dedicated to detecting graft from public officials. This makes it a good step because a large percentage of  corruption cases are committed by public officials. Moreover, to be able to fight corruption completely out of the country, the governments as the largest stakeholder, in the interest of having a corruption-free nation must start with prosecuting its own officers who are accused of and may later be proved to have engaged in bribery. The government also encourages the participation of the civil societies and the media in struggling against corruption through forums and public awareness meetings where the public are educated about the need to avoid corruption.

The other initiative undertaken by the government is to identify and act on cases of money laundering, which allows for bribery money to find its way into and out of the country. Besides these, it also makes follow-ups where there is evidence of graft to make sure that stolen money is returned to the public besides prosecuting the perpetrators of such acts.  Moreover, the Indonesian government has also engaged international bodies to implement strategies such as National Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Prevention and Eradication of Corruption (STRANAS-PPK) which allows for international anti-corruption agencies to actively participate in evaluation and monitoring of activities in the strategy (Smith, 2012, p. 16).

 
 
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This is implemented also as a partnership between the government and the anti-corruption civil societies, which besides dealing with the government at the national level, also reach out to people in the villages to educate them about the problems associated with corruption and bribery cases. Similarly, the international agencies  work with national groups and institutions such as the Indonesian National Police, the courts, the Office of the Attorney General, Financial Transaction Reports, and Analysis Centre, among many other institutions in the country that work collectively to ensure that corruption is stemmed out. Another measure which has already been taken is the designing of the Computer-Based Training Program entailing anti-corruption campaign. There is also increased support from the government on the proper coordination and cooperation among the anti-corruption actors, which focuses on capacity of building in the villages and other areas where there is limited knowledge on how to prevent corruption (Zengke, 2000, p. 249).

Methodology

Scope

This study will focus on the government agencies which have the mandate of fighting corruption in the respective countries. In China, the respondents for this study will be drawn from the People’s Supreme Prosecutorate which has the mandate of carrying out investigation on cases of corruption and bribery. The national policies and anti-corruption bodies will also be included in the sample of the questionnaires which will be distributed to them. In Indonesia, the study will focus on the National Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Prevention and Eradication of Corruption, the National Police, the courts,  the Office of the Attorney General, and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre. Each of these institutions will have one respondent to ensure that the number of questionnaires is manageable. Other respondents will include the public service officials who deal with public procurement and financial management so as to get their views on the cases of corruption that come to their attention every month.
Sampling

Sampling techniques can be divided into probability sampling and non-probability sampling. Probability sampling requires that the probability of selecting each individual from the potential subjects is equal to all other individuals in the identified group of potential subjects (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 56). It was not easy to accurately determine the authenticity of each of the potential subjects but the researcher relied on the subjects’ profiles in the forum. To this end, the researcher adopted a non-probability sampling. Basically, non-probability sampling includes convenience sampling, snowball sampling, quota sampling, and judgment sampling.  Since the targeted population has differences and the sample size is probably small,  random sampling will be used in this study to select the respondents to whom  questionnaires will be sent out. The focus will mainly be on the anti-corruption chiefs, government officials, and anti-corruption groups in the two countries. The questionnaire will be emailed to them since it would be impossible to travel across the two countries and meet them face to face.

Data Collection and Analysis

The study entails a wider understanding of data collection as a multidimensional and involving exercise. Additionally, it has to be considered  that studies in the social science domain require a rich set of data gathered using both primary and secondary data collection methods. Secondary data collection method entails the review of existing data with a view of extracting evidence that supports the construction of study objectives and research questions while primary data collection entails the extraction of first-hand information from study participations through interviews, surveys, questionnaires or focus groups. A large chunk of secondary data supporting the topic study aim, objectives, and research questions were thus reviewed (collected). The data was  crucial in the interpretation and understanding of the study findings.  In this study, data from the available literature will be collected through consulting newspapers, books, and websites.  the questionnaire will also be used by distributing it to the heads of the institutions concerned with fighting corruption in both countries. I will consider using the email to send questionnaires to the respondents because this is easier and does not require much time. It will also reduce  the costs associated with reaching the respondents from wherever they are in the two countries.

data can be analysed using two most commonly used statistical techniques, namely descriptive or inferential statistics. The author  will use descriptive statistics to cover two major areas - that is, measures of central tendency and measures of variability. On its part, inferential statistics will include the outcomes of statistical tests that guide a researcher in making deductions from the collected data. This also includes the testing of the set hypothesis and the linking the findings thereof to the study population. Other notable methods of analysing quantitative data that will be considered include the use of correlation analysis and regression analysis techniques to analyze primary data. Correlation analysis will be used to analyze the relationship between independent and dependent variables while regression analysis will help in the analysis of how variables are spread across a set of observed data. In this study, I will also use regression analysis of the data from the respondents to determine the prevalence of corruption cases in the two countries and the efforts which are put in place to fight corruption.

Additionally, descriptive statistics will be used to analyse the data collected with the help of the questionnaire. The underlying principle behind the selection of this data analysis technique is  it will allow the researcher to describe all the major elements of the collected data in a simple and easy to understand manner. Moreover, the descriptive statistics method  allows for presentation of the data in graphical and tabular formats that are easy to understand. Moreover, data supporting each of the identified research objectives will be subject to comparative analysis to determine which among the main variables or causes of corruption are highly pronounced in the two countries – China and Indonesia.

Time Frame

Carrying out a study of this nature requires time and money. This research will take up to one month to get a good percentage of response from the respondents, because most of them are very busy with their activities. Owing to the scale of the study area, analysis of the data and data interpretation will also require one month and may extend into the second month. However,  the researcher is prepared for  handling all  questionnaires that will be returned and hope that other sources of data like government reports, anti-corruption websites, and newspapers will provide a rich set of data that will be helpful to the policy-makers of the two countries and beyond.  

   

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