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These Bribes Go Up In Smoke

From the China Compliance Digest (Issue No. 6: March 12, 2012):

Shanxi Tobacco Company’s recent introduction of an RMB550-per-pack (US$88) version of Good Cat cigarettes received an angry, derisive response from many Chinese observers, who claimed the cigarettes would be used to bribe corrupt officials.

The use of luxury cigarettes as bribes is widely known and reported in China. Most adult Chinese men are smokers, and throughout the country cartons of cigarettes are customarily given as gifts.

In 2008, Zhou Jiugeng, former real estate management bureau director in Jiangning District, was fired after internet users spotted him with expensive cigarettes, among other luxury items. He was eventually sentenced to 11 years in prison for corruption.

Sources: Qilu Evening News (齐鲁晚报), Bloomberg

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