9  October 2012

The BBC has reported about a Beijing artist who has spent three years painting 1,600 portraits of officials recently jailed for corruption.  “They are all painted in a rosy pink, the colour of China’s 100 yuan bill as a symbol of corruption.”

There is no shortage of subjects.

Last year, the People’s Bank of China website reported that between 16,000 and 18,000 government officials had smuggled more than $120bn overseas between the mid-1990s and 2008. That works out to more than $6m per official.  Apparently posted in error, the report was soon removed.

Earlier this year, Premier Wen Jiabao warned that corruption was the greatest threat to the rule of the Communist Party.

The Chinese public read headlines about anti-corruption campaigns almost every day.  However, a Hong Kong based China- analyst indicated that it’s impossible to tackle corruption within the system without having independent bodies. “Top officials have stopped investigations and refuse calls for other senior officials to publish the assets of their families.”

Chinese are said to accept corruption as part of daily life. They know they have to pay bribes to get good medical treatment or win lawsuits in the courts.  The BBC reports that to go to a good state school in Beijing, bribes of  more than $10,000 must be paid to education officials.