From administration to sports, corruption flies high in China


The self-acclaimed Chinese mega anti-corruption campaign under the leadership of President Xi Jinping has been a subject of global scrutiny since 2012. While Beijing terms the drive highly successful in decimating the menace throughout the country, several reports contrary to the claim keep on emerging.

Corruption is said to be deep rooted in the Chinese system and cases continue to prop up as proof of it. However, it is not only the members of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and government officials who are accused of, investigated and put to trial for corruption. Other state institutions functioning at the ground level are also found involved in many cases of graft. These institutions touch many parts of public welfare including administration, healthcare and education.

Some recently reported graft cases involve top state officials from CCP. Liu Zhenyu, member of the Standing Committee of the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture Committee of Hunan Province was recently accused of serious corruption and is being investigated by Hunan Provincial Commission for Discipline, Inspection and Supervision. Similarly, Long Xiaohua, the former deputy secretary of the Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture Committee of Hunan province and the former governor of the prefecture people’s government has also been accused of corruption and is facing investigation. He relinquished governor’s position in December 2022 and now his CCP membership has also been abrogated.

Another case is of Du Xiaozhou who is a former secretary of the party committee and chairman of Shaanxi Yinhan Jiwei Engineering Construction Co., Ltd. Du Xiaozhou is under investigation from Shaanxi Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection and Supervision. Notably, violation of discipline and law is a term mostly used by CCP to veil corruption cases in the party.

Some recent reports indicate that even sports administration in China has not been able to escape the ill. A corruption scandal unearthed lately involves Chinese Football Association. Several of association’s former and existing portfolio holders are being investigated for the ‘violation of discipline and law’. According to the Disciplinary inspection and Supervision Group of the State Sports General Administration, Liu Aijie who is a former chairman of the China Rowing Association and the China Canoeing Association, is suspected of serious violations of discipline and law.

The State Sports General Administration and the Henan Provincial Supervision Committee have been asked to review and investigate the case. Liu Aijie has also served as the deputy director at the State General Administration of Sports, the Director of the Preparation Office of the State General Administration of Sports, and the deputy director of the Competitive Sports Department. In August 2017, he was elected as the chairman of the China Rowing Association. He is also the chairman of the China Canoeing Association. In November 2021, he was elected as the vice-chairman of the International Canoeing Federation.

In April 2023, Du Zhaocai, a member of the party group Administration, was investigated for the violation of discipline and law. He is in charge of football-related work. The party group of the General Administration of Sport of China has also acknowledged that the recent corruption cases showed that the anti-corruption struggle in the sports system is still severe and complicated. Earlier in March 2023, Yu Hongchen, Chairman of the Chinese Athletic Association, was investigated. Incidentally, Yu Hongchen was also the vice chairman of the Chinese Football Association. Earlier, Wang Xiaoping, Director of the Disciplinary Committee of the Chinese Football Association, and Huang Song, Director of the Chinese Football Association’s competition department, was investigated.

The recent cases of graft in sports management in China makes it clear that the prevalence of corruption not limited to political and executive affairs. The menace has visibly spread to the extended branches of the administrative structure of the country. Accordingly, the remedy cannot be confined to publicising some high-profile cases. The government would also have to look deeper while avoiding the lure of promoting a grandiose image of top leadership and its anti-corruption drive.

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