China restructuring to attempt to eliminate corruption, but…

Xi Jinping


China has taken another step in its new fight against corruption:

10 March 2013

(Reuters) – China unveiled a government restructuring plan on Sunday, cutting cabinet-level entities by two and dissolving its powerful Railways Ministry, as the country’s new leaders look to boost efficiency and combat corruption…

“Currently, numerous operational, organizational and division of labor problems exist in State Council ministries,” State Council Secretary-General Ma Kai said in a speech on the plan to the National People’s Congress.

Ma added that “breach of duty, using positions for personal gain and corruption” under the structure had not been effectively constrained.

China’s president-in-waiting Xi Jinping and premier-designate Li Keqiang assume their new roles after the annual congress concludes next week.

Restructuring may help, but it is not enough?

Xi Jinping, in the past, has also stated he would try to reduce corruption by Chinese officials (China’s New Leader Formally Installed and Claims He Wants to Fight Corruption) and he even took the unusual step last month of encouraging the stopping luxury advertisements to attempt to reduce lust (China bans luxury ads in an attempt to fight corruption).

How effective the banning of advertisements and this latest restructuring will be to accomplish this can be debated. But it is interesting that the Chinese apparently have properly connected lust of the eyes with the sin of corruption. Notice some verses in the Bible that seem to do so:

16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. (1 John 2:16)

4…corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7)

It is quite true that governmental corruption is one of the significant risks that China’s government is now facing.   Covetousness, lust, and corruption are wrong, and certainly is not limited to Chinese government officials. Of course, then, attempting to reduce “the lust of the eyes” could be helpful.

The Bible also teaches against those who take bribes:

3…they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice (1 Samuel 8:3).

9 Do not gather my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10 In whose hands is a sinister scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes. (Psalms 26:9-10)

23…Everyone loves bribes,
And follows after rewards.
They do not defend the fatherless,
Nor does the cause of the widow come before them. (Isaiah 1:23)

12 For I know your manifold transgressions
And your mighty sins:
Afflicting the just and taking bribes;
Diverting the poor from justice at the gate. (Amos 5:12)

So, taking steps intended to reduce government officials from taking bribes is a positive step.

Yet it is not just officials taking bribes, etc. that upsets Chinese citizens.

One of the things that most Westerners do not realize is that China officially has a system that prevents its citizens from agrarian areas from having the same rights as those in urban areas. It is called the hukou. Here is more information about that:

The hukou
Through a rigorous and rigid household registration system designed to control the movement of China’s 1.3 billion people, the central government classifies all its citizens as either city dwellers or rural peasants. The registration, also known in Chinese as hukou, determines not only a citizen’s residence but also what kind of social services individuals are eligible for…In Beijing, which has an estimated 5 million migrant workers, none of these people are allowed to obtain state-sponsored health care or schooling if their hukou is registered in their hometowns—which most likely it is. As a result, their children—many of whom are born in the Chinese capital—can only attend privately-run and unapproved schools. (Mong A, Gu B. In Beijing, 40,000 students stranded. MSNBC, August 19, 2011.

Even people who move from agrarian regions to the cities, still are registered as agrarian/rural and do not get the same rights or even education for their children. This disparity, combined with severe pollution, corruption, and a host of other problems, will affect China more than most realize. Some of this would be consistent with what Xi Jinping has suggested he will address, but it may end up being too little, too late.

Notice some observations from secular sources:

China will do anything to grow its economy, as the alternatives will lead to political unrest. A lot of peasants moved to the cities in search of higher-paying jobs during the go-go times. Because China lacks the social safety net of the developed world, unemployed people aren’t just inconvenienced by the loss of their jobs, they starve (this explains the high savings rate in China) and hungry people don’t complain, they riot. Once you look at what’s taking place in the Chinese economy through that lens, the decisions of its leaders start making sense, or at least become understandable. (Vitaliy N. Katsenelson. China: No Shortcut to Greatness. The Daily Reckoning, March 1, 2010)

So, China has to be careful. It is likely to have unrest, even though it is getting wealthier.

I have seen some reports where some have suggested that part of the reason for the huge air and water pollution problem in China is the corruption of bribe-taking officials. Notice something that the Wall Street Journal reported last month:

According to a series of newspaper reports, online versions of which appear to have vanished into the country’s not-so-thin air, more than 30 environmental and other officials from the Nantong area were implicated in a scandal that involves bribery and turning a blind eye to pollution problems.

And this pollution affects everyone’s health, thus could be a rallying point for protests against the Chinese government. Corruption hurts people.

Presuming its problems are not solved, China likely will have civil unrest, and at some point likely massive civil unrest. But, even taking small steps to reduce covetousness and make bribe-taking more difficult, could help some.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters Where did the Chinese people come from? This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God’s Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? China in prophecy, where? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?

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