According to the 2014 Work Report of the top prosecuting auhtority in China, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (“SPP”), a total of 7,826 individual bribe givers were prosecuted, up 37.9% from the previous year.
In 2013, 5,515 individuals were prosecuted, an increase of 18.6% from 2012.
The trend continues in 2015. During the first three months of 2015, the SPP opened cases to investigate 1,891 individuals for suspected bribe giving.
SPP statistics indicate this figure reflects a 6.1% increase from the same period in 2014.
In addition to increased criminal prosecutions, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of China (SAIC) and its local offices have also opened more investigations against commercial bribery, especially in the health care sector.
On February 16, 2012, the SPP electronically linked separate databases by local procuratorates in the country and launched a nationwide Bribe-giving Crime Record System (检察机关行贿犯罪档案查询系统). This system was established to disseminate bribe-giving crime data, including the nature of the charge, the name of the company offering a bribe, the bribe amount, the punishment meted out, and so forth, of all bribery-related cases successfully prosecuted nationwide since October 1997.
A check of the bribe-giving crime record can be made through the relevant procuratorate by a written application.
In practice, the database has improved the system of sanctions and prevention against corruption. For example, it has contributed to better supervision of the market. Most importantly, the system can serve as an indispensable due diligence tool. For example, a company with bribe-giving record may be disqualified from competing in government procurement and bidding.
The Chinese people have reacted positively to the availability of bribe-giving crime data. According to the SPP, since its nationwide launch in February 2012 to November 2014, the SPP’s online system received 4.34 million electronic inquiries.
Jianwei (Jerry) Fang is a partner with the China-based Global Law Office in the firm’s Shanghai and Beijing offices. He was a judge in China and studied law at Columbia. He can be reached here.
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