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Whither China?Restarting the Reform Agenda$
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Wu Jinglian and Ma Guochuan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190223151

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190223151.001.0001

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Why did China Become a Rent-Seeking Society?

Why did China Become a Rent-Seeking Society?

(p.269) Dialogue 19 Why did China Become a Rent-Seeking Society?
Whither China?

Wu Jinglian

Ma Guochuan

Xiaofeng Hua

Nancy Hearst

Oxford University Press

The existence of numerous rent-seeking opportunities in the current Chinese system allows officials to engage in corrupt practices without any oversight. In recent years, the current institutional arrangements, enlarged administrative powers, increase in matters subject to administrative licenses, and administrative interventions have all given rise to a worsening of corruption. The buying and selling of government positions has become ever-more fashionable. Furthermore, during the ownership restructuring, some people holding power have become rich overnight by stripping public assets. The rampant corruption has also exacerbated social polarization between the rich and poor and has jeopardized China’s economic development and social stability. An effective system to supervise government officials and to restrain government power is lacking. Whether corruption can be contained remains a question of whether there is the capacity to carry out reforms that are oriented toward a market economy, the rule of law, and democracy.

Keywords:   Chapter corruption, rent seeking, administrative intervention, buying and selling of government positions, asset stripping, social polarization

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