China to lay siege to bribery
By Ao Rong (
Updated: 2006-04-12 11:57

As one of the major law enforcing departments harnessing commercial bribery, the State Administration For Industry & Commerce (SAIC) has just held a working conference on "Rectifying Market Order and Harnessing Commercial Bribery", conducting a meticulous deployment as to harnessing commercial bribery in industrial and commercial administration system.

At the beginning of this year, the State Council convoked the Fourth Working Conference on Clean and Honest Administration and constituted a high-level leading group made up of 22 ministries and commissions. Commercial bribery in six domains including engineering construction, land transfer, property rights exchange, pharmaceutical purchase and sales, government purchase, and resource exploitation and distribution was determined as the key objects to be harnessed.
Latent rules destroying market order

As the market is getting more and more competitive, commercial bribery has developed from a kind of concealed behavior in some specific industries at the beginning into an "influenza" prevalent in various sectors like pharmaceutical, tourism, construction, commerce, and so on; moreover, commercial bribery, to some extent, has become the so-called "industrial routine" by which these industries harvest inappropriate benefits and dirty money.

Zhong Youping, vice minister of SAIC, gave an example of this. During the 10 years from 1993 to 2003, Guangdong Provincial Administration of Industry and Commerce had investigated into and dealt with 655 cases of commercial bribery, about 65 cases per year on average; while during the three years from 2003 till 2005, as high as 447 cases of commercial bribery were investigated into and dealt with in the province, 149 cases per year on average. The number of commercial bribery cases had risen distinctly and the sums engaged had increased greatly, which revealed that commercial bribery cases occur at different levels in various places and various sectors and are presenting a trend of incessant pervasion. Zhong said, "Those cases investigated and dealt with in the past are only an edge of the iceberg. It can be said to some extent that commercial bribery has become a 'latent rule' in certain industries and fields."

Guan Jingfu, deputy director general of Jilin Provincial Administration of Industry and Commerce, has a strong feeling about that. He told the reporter that in the system of pharmaceutical purchase and sales, commercial bribery has become a kind of "anesthetic" and "lubricant"; it has become an industrial routine that hospitals accept "dissemination fees" and doctors accept overseas investigation and trainings as well as cashes and gifts offered by pharmaceutical producers. "Sales with cash bonus" in the alcohol circulation industry has also become a routine for the sales promotion of alcoholic drinks that waiters and waitresses in hotels and restaurants "get money with pack seals, bottle caps or paper seals".

Statistics show that only kickbacks on pharmaceutical sales in the pharmaceutical industry across the country can result in the embezzlement of over RMB 700 million of state-owned assets each year, approximately 16 percent of the annual tax incomes of the nationwide pharmaceutical industry. Thus, it can be seen that commercial bribery has become a public evil in economic and social lives and a prominent problem affecting the current market order.

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