In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Corruption in China

  • Introduction

Political Science Corruption in China
Yan Sun, Baishun Yuan
  • LAST REVIEWED: 09 February 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 June 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0201


Chinese corruption is a fascinating yet challenging subject to study both for technical and political reasons. Technically, the clandestine nature of corruption makes it difficult to investigate and measure, which is compounded further by the diversity and complexity of Chinese bureaucracy and society. Politically, the sensitive nature of corruption makes it difficult to gather reliable data, which is reinforced further by the enigma and multiplicity of China’s anti-corruption agencies. These factors affect the choice of research topics, sources, and methodologies for Western as well as Chinese scholars. Fortunately, much progress has been made since the mid-1980s in terms both of primary research sources and research studies both in Chinese and English. These have been greatly boosted, moreover, by China’s anti-corruption campaign since late 2012. This article is organized along these two broad frameworks. Primary Sources introduces the multitudes of such sources for the study of Chinese corruption. These sources include official documents, statistics, databases, case collections, and now even documentaries; journalistic reports; and academic sources. Studies in the Chinese language will not be included here because there are simply too many. Studies in English introduces research studies on Chinese corruption in the English language, which includes these topics: Historical Review, Conceptualization and Measurement, Forms and Characteristics, Causes of Corruption, Consequences of Corruption, and Controlling Corruption. Each of which is divided into various subsections. Research assistance was provided by Ms. Wu Xiaomeng of Hunan University.

Primary Sources

Within China, a number of factors—increased transparency, extensive use of information technology, published official statistics, and proliferation of research studies—have greatly improved access to local information and knowledge for scholars. Included in this section are sources for regulatory rules and policies against corruption, official statistics for corruption trends, sources for case information, journalistic reports and investigations, and academic sources.

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