CHINA / National

Commercial bribes of top concern
by China Daily
Updated: 2005-12-31 07:09

Central government officials have vowed to crack down on commercial bribes one of the main concerns for the ongoing session of the National People's Congress.

Sun Yongfu, vice-minister of railways, said commercial bribes in business transactions are closely linked with abuse of power by government departments and officials.

He said the most effective way to uproot such practices was to "enhance the education of government officials and relevant personnel."

Corruption in large-scale public projects is a daunting obstacle to sustainable development, and areas such as engineering projects, land acquisition, property trading, medicine purchase and government procurement have drawn special attention in China.

It was quite common for those bidding for business in the country to offer potential customers or partners kickbacks, including cash and luxuries.

Many companies believed that the practice was a "tacit rule" of the Chinese market.

However, how to define commercial bribery still needs further discussion, said Li Jinhua, auditor-general of the National Audit Office.

"We need a correct definition such as what is commercial bribery and what is the legitimate commission," Li explained.

Tackling commercial bribery, especially among government officials, is a major task of China's drive to build a clean and efficient government this year.

Meanwhile, China is working to revise its law against unfair competition and the revised version is expected to define the various forms of commercial bribes and mete out more severe administrative penalties.

It will also cover improving accounting systems and enhancing co-ordination between relevant departments in the settlement of bribery cases.

Few businesspeople actively condone commercial bribes, but some continue to argue that they are forced to pay bribes because of the pressures from their competitors.

Wang, who is in the medicine manufacturing industry, who declined to give his full name, said he is also looking forward to a sound system that disapproves of kickbacks and other forms of bribes in the business community.

(China Daily 03/13/2006 page2)