Thursday, August 11, 2005

CORRUPTION HAVENS

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From Visions of Heaven and Hell by Richard Cavendish

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Americans love to think of ourselves as Law and Order people. We don't like cheats and thieves and well, you know who runs our government now, don't you?

The mythology is that places like Brazil are havens for con artists and traitors and others fleeing homelands after committing grave crimes. But guess what?

We are Brazil.

From Xinhuanet;
Chinese law experts on Wednesday said judicial reform, including death penalty exemption, may help bring back more fugitive corrupt officials.

A report issued by the Ministry of Commerce showed that in recent years, nearly 4,000 corrupt officials fled overseas with approximately 50 billion US dollars of illicit money.

Chu Huaizhi, law professor with Peking University said in an interview with Xinhua prior to the 22nd Congress on the Law of theWorld that China has signed extradition treaties with more than 20countries and judicial assistance treaties with dozens of countries. However, China has not signed such treaties with countries where corrupt officials often go to, such as the United States, Japan and Canada.

Some countries hesitated to sign extradition treaties with China, partially because Chinese courts can give death penalties to nonviolent crimes offenders, such as corrupt officials, he said.

If corrupt officials were free from the death penalty, Western countries might cooperate with China to extradite fugitive corruptofficials, or they would not flee in the first place, he said.

However, Chinese citizens have traditionally been unkind towardcorruption. They often voice their hatred of notorious corrupt officials online, asking governments and courts to stringently punish them. In addition, they say the ruling party and the central government need resolute methods to keep the government clean.
That's right, they execute people who take bribes, like Ronnie Reagan would have been executed if he were Chinese. Of course, the fiction that we don't extradite people because of the death penalty is pure hog wash. Japan is interesting in that they, like the USA, view the reception of corrupt Chinese as a way of recapturing profits. After all, both Japan and the USA run trade deficits with China.

This is why Brazil welcomed any and all bank swindlers, you know. It isn't a good sign for a country to become a haven for corrupt officials. It always bites back in the end as officials become corrupt. The mutual corruption society that the Japanse government runs alongside our own erupts into the news periodically but not as often as it occurs.

Cutting and running is what all imperial bureaucrats do. The painting above is hundreds of years old and it shows corrupt Chinese officials being caught by demons and pushed into a burning river. The Chinese have had to deal with this for eons. They have many stories and sayings concerning this.

The entire ethos of K'ung fu tzu (Confucius for those confused about the many ways of writing Chinese words!) revolves around resolving the conflict of interest between court officers and native greed. What he recognized was that individuals must honor their families and by extention, be honorable to the greater family of the empire. They are firmly woven into the fabric of the nation so they won't pick up and flee after plundering their host nations.

The near universal use of eunuchs by nearly all empires shows the failure of this ethos. The thinking was, men who can't have families won't compete to start rival families and thus would serve the emperor selflessly.

This always falls apart as the emperor's inevitable harems end up conspiring with the eunuchs to warp things to their own advantages. The last days of imperial China were a complete disaster as these forces worked to destroy the military as well as all civilian authority.

America has wrestled with our own corruption by defining it. But whenever powerful people want to be corrupt, they warp our legal and legislative machines to give cover and encourage their pet forms of corruption. You can tell when a nation is fatally corrupted by looking at the books. Are the budgets balanced?

By that scale, we are a nest of corruption. And I see no executioner in sight.

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