Jun 01, 2012 06:45 PM

Tolerate Corruption? Really?

Even as an editorial by the state-run Global Times' recently called on the public to tolerate corruption in China, one prominent professor of political science said graft had reached levels that were unacceptable to the public.

On May 29, the Chinese version of the newspaper published an editorial titled, "Fighting Corruption is a Crucial Battle for Chinese Society." It coincided with news that former railway minister Liu Zhijun was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party for "serious disciplinary violations" following a graft probe.

The editorial spurred discussion on public attitudes towards corruption. The main point of contention had to do with the editorial's call for public tolerance. It said: "Since there is no way in any country to eliminate corruption, the key of the problem is to control corruption to an acceptable level, but this is particularly hard to do in China."

It went further, saying: "But the public must also understand the objective fact and reality that China has no way of entirely suppressing corruption without sending the whole country into pain and confusion."

Tencent’s portal,, reposted the editorial under another headline, "The Public Should Permit Acceptable Levels of Corruption." This prompted the chief editor of the Global Times, Hu Xijin, to demand that Tencent publicly apologize.

Wang Yukai is a political science professor at the China National School of Administration, a training center for mid-level and senior civil servants, and he challenged the views offered by the Global Times.

"On the most fundamental level, it is morally wrong to ask the public to tolerate corruption," he said.

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