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Will a pay raise keep the Mandarins honest?

China’s State Council has released a plan to increase salaries of civil servants amid public expectations that it will help curb corruption.
 
President Xi Jinping and other six members of the Politburo Standing Committee will have their annual salary increased from 7,020 yuan ($1,130) to 11,385 yuan ($1,759), a 62 per cent jump, according to the plan.

The Telegraph compared Xi’s salary with that of other world leaders, revealing that British Prime Minister David Cameron earns almost ten times as much, while U.S. President Barack Obama’s annual base salary is $400,000.

The basic monthly salary for the lowest level officials will be increased from 630 yuan ($100) to 1,320 yuan ($212). Public expenses and allowances are not included.

Currently Hong Kong and Singapore have the highest paid ministers and bureaucrats in the world. Singapore ranks 7 on the corruption perceptions index and Hong Kong ranks 17.

It is commonly known that China’s civil servants earn much more than their basic salaries due to other benefits, allowances, and various sources of grey income. And the low incomes of civil servants have been blamed for fuelling corruption.

President Xi was quoted by a military newspaper as saying that civil servants’ income should mainly rely on salaries instead of other sources.

Critics said that civil servants’ pay raises should be accompanied by well-designed measures to reduce their grey income.

Sources: China Daily, Telegraph, South China Morning Post, DWnews (多维新闻)

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Hui Zhi is the Senior Manager for Content with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.

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