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Bringing leaders to book

September 20, 2012

Chongqing’s communist party leader Bo Xilai, was implicated today in a criminal case for the first time, indicating that he too could face a stringent jail term along with his wife Gu Kailai who was earlier convicted of poisoning UK businessman Neil Heywood. Gu has since been given a suspended death sentence for the killing in late 2011.

The closely watched trial which has rocked Beijing also comes at a pertinent time as national elections for which Bo was a strong contender are to play out next month. Exposing corruption in the highest echelons of the Chinese Communist Party which has held sway since the past few decades the Bo trial exposes rifts within the party – elements of which are strong supporters of Bo’s populist, left-leaning policies – at a time when China is preparing for a once-in-a-decade leadership change.

The trial has also made many Indian politicians stand up and take note of China’s corruption within the fold of the communist party. While India has long held China’s politibureau in high regard for implementing massive infrastructure projects, raising revenues and sprinting the economy ahead, they also respected it for its discipline, and forthrightness. Chinese politicians were known to get their work done. Efficient and dependable. Unlike India, where politicians and the system they wield is known to be bound in red-tapism, bureaucracy and corruption, China, to Indians seemed like a clean slate. While nobody’s denying corruption doesn’t exist everywhere, Chinese corruption seemed more forthright, obvious in your face, rather than the murky side that Bo Xilai’s trial unearthed.

With Anna Hazare’s campaign finding feet in China, citizens in both countries are growing extremely tireless of paying bribes to gain government favours. China and India might face the same problems of late – social unrest, power outages and corruption, yet China’s corruption seems cleaner, and a major factor could be that China brings its wrong doers to book, whereas India prolongs death sentences of terrorists that killed hundreds of lives. Whether, right or wrong, whether the system is humane or not, brings the wrong in the right people out or not, isn’t for anybody to decide – judgement is met in China and that’s whats important. – While it’s a common notion in India that China’s progress is predominately due to hanging the evil that lurks, the Chinese still admire India’s democratic legal system, which allows one to be innocent unless proven guilty.

Corruption cannot be extinguished. Its omnipotency is fueled by avarice, it might exist in different forms, and governments might deal with it in various ways, but there is no solution.

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