Modern China Studies
Since the beginning of China's economic reform in the late 1970s, corruption has been progressing alongside of economic growth. In 2012, when Xi Jinping took power, he waged the largest and longest anticorruption campaign known in the history of the Chinese Communist Party. This study provides an assessment on his campaign and projects an outlook on the future of corruption and anticorruption in China. The author argues that China will enter into an "authoritarian trap," in which the authoritarian power enables the state to effectively carry out the economic reform and achieve economic growth, while suppressing the demand for the rule of law and democratization, resulting in rampant corruption that hurts further economic development and threatens the authoritarian rule. However, eradicating corruption in absence of the rule of law risks returning to Mao's communism, which is not in the best interest of the authoritarian state either. Trapped in this dilemma, China will likely experience stagnation in both economic and political development in the foreseeable future.
Original Publication Citation
Li, S. (2017). Assessment of and outlook on China's corruption and anticorruption campaigns: Stagnation in the authoritarian trap. Modern China Studies, 24(2), 139-157.
Li, Shaomin, "Assessment of and Outlook on China's Corruption and Anticorruption Campaigns: Stagnation in the Authoritarian Trap" (2017). Management Faculty Publications. 29.