WA China Watch Digest Special!

Survey: What does Panama Papers’ revelation say about Chinese leaders?

China's Global Times editorial says Panama Papers 'fabricated.' Source: Baidu screenshot

By Wen Liu   Apr. 11, 2016

One of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s signature political moves is his intense, three-year-long and on-going anti-corruption campaign, with tens of thousands of government officials investigated, disciplined or prosecuted, not to say those who committed suicide in fear of punishment. Now the Panama Papers have revealed links of secrete offshore companies to family members of top Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping himself and other current and former members of the Politburo Standing Committee. So here is the question:

Do you think this says more about the hypocrisy of the Communist Party or the futility of the one-party system trying to rid itself of corruption?

Here are a few responses, brief, direct, diverse and thought-provoking, in the order they were received:

Paul Thomas, former educator and winery owner:
It has little to do with neither the Communist Party nor a one-party system. It has lots to do with government today all over the world, increasingly corrupt to the core.

Tim Blue, owner-winemaker, Adams Bench Winery:
I tend to believe this is commentary on hypocrisy, a one-party political system with long history of corruption slanted toward people in power and those they favor, as well as a whole host of other factors not the least of which is the absence of a constitution with provisions similar to those in place in the United States, provisions which have a realistic chance to be enforced by a justice system (like in the U.S.) which is not perfect by any means (because people are not perfect) but which is the most effective justice system in the world.

Dan Evans, former governor of Washington:

Bob Anderson, founding president, Washington State China Relations Council:
All of the above. The political mechanisms have been compromised in the rapid growth of every Chinese institution which has paved the way for imbedded corruption throughout the society. Absolute control simply can't control human nature.

Larry Fuell, director, Global Affairs Center, Shoreline Community College:
Neither. I think it speaks to the challenge of any party system trying to rid itself of corruption.

Bill Abnett, senior advisor, National Bureau of Asian Research:

James Simpson, international agriculture economist:
I think it is neither about hypocrisy nor the one-party system. The Panama issue and similar ones are endemic world-wide.

John Fluke, Fluke Capital Management, LP:
Not to mention the presence of corruption in the U.S. two-party system!

(For more information on major events in Washington state-China relations, go to WA China Chronicle.)