More than mooncakes, more than a notice
Updated: 2013-08-26 20:38
The use of gifts as bribes can only be stamped out if the State's top authority devolves powers to different departments and strengthens the supervision of government officials by law, says an article in China Business News. Here is an excerpt:
The period from late September to mid-October —around the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day — is the busiest season for the sending of gifts from lower-level governments and officials, as well as businessmen, to higher-level governments and officials.
The Communist Party of China's disciplinary authority issued a special notice to ban the gifting of mooncakes bought with government money during this season.
But the gifting process has special significance for both the givers and the receivers, and it will take more than a notice to ban the tradition.
Power is concentrated in the hands of higher authorities and the directors of these departments. Preferential policies, administrative approval rights, transfer payments, government investments and various other profits are attached to the people and departments holding the power.
The top decision-makers in each department are not effectively supervised and have great power within their departments.
Providing gifts to important people and departments in the higher-level governments is the most common way to build up good relations with them.
So the gifting system, which is a form of power trade, has the power to influence the final decisions of some government departments, which may run counter to the public interest.