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Graft concern growing in China, survey finds

Chinese citizens are increasingly frustrated with certain aspects of their political system, including economic inequality, food safety scandals, and most notably, political corruption, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, a U.S. based nonpartisan ‘fact tank.’

Richard Wike, Associate Director of the Pew Global Attitudes Project, said corrupt officials are now one of the top concerns of the Chinese public.

“Back in 2008, when we asked about this, we already had a fairly large number of people telling us it was a major problem. Thirty-nine percent said corrupt officials were a very big problem back then. This year, though, that’s up significantly, it’s up to 50 percent saying that corrupt officials are a very big problem in the country,” Wike said.

The problem of corruption has been highlighted by a series of recent high-profile scandals involving Communist Party leaders, including Bo Xilai, the disgraced ex-Politburo member whose wife has been convicted of murder. Other less well-known scandals are a regular occurrence within party ranks.

China’s Communist leaders have said they see widespread corruption as a factor that threatens their rule, and have vowed to correct the problem as the leadership transition begins next month.

But the party seems reluctant to embrace any Western-style changes to its political system. A Global Times editorial earlier this week said that many are using the issue of corruption to ‘attack China’s political system.’ But it warned that ‘fighting corruption isn’t all about political reform.’

Download the Pew Report in pdf here.

— With reporting from VOA

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