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Corruption and anti-corruption in China: a case study of high-ranking officials

Jiahong He (Law School, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 5 May 2020

Issue publication date: 25 October 2020



With the analysis of the causes of corruption, this study aims to investigate specific anti-corruption measures that can be implemented to reform the political system and the social climate of China.


This study examines 97 severe corruption cases of high-ranking officials in China, which occurred between 2012 and 2015. As this insinuates that both institutional and social corruption are major problems in China, the analysis delves into multiple facts of corruption, including different types, four primary underlying causes, and suggestions regarding the implementation of three significant governmental shifts that focus on investigation, prevention tactics and legal regulations.


China’s corruption is not only individual-based but also it has developed into institutional corruption and social corruption. Besides human nature and instinct, the causes of corruption can be organised into four categories, namely, social customs, social transitions, institutional designs and institutional operations. For the removed high-ranking officials, the formation of interest chains was an important underlying cause behind their corruption.


This study makes a significant contribution to the literature because this study provides a well-rounded approach to a complex issue by highlighting the significance of democracy and the rule of law as ways to regulate human behaviour to combat future corruption.



He, J. (2020), "Corruption and anti-corruption in China: a case study of high-ranking officials", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 715-734.



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