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China’s lawfare against corruption, lessons for Pakistan — I

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Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China, which concluded on 6 November, was another historic milestone in the growing geo-strategic China — Pakistan relationship. Elimination of poverty and corruption have been on top of the PM’s priority list ever since he assumed office. The China-Pakistan joint statement records Pakistan’s “evinced interest in learning from the Chinese experience and accomplishments in the field of anti-corruption.”

There are reasons for Pakistan to look China’s way. China’s rise in the 21st Century is a lesson in astute statecraft. Pakistan — China’s closest ally and most crucial strategic pivot in the South Asian balance of power — can certainly learn from China’s experiences.

China’s success in combating corruption — a specter that haunted it for decades — was through a relentless “no-holes barred” campaign against corruption. In our view, China’s campaign against corruption, due to its sheer magnitude and size, is China’s law fare against corruption. Law fare — a portmanteau of terms law and war — is the use of law as a weapon of war to achieve legal, financial and economic objectives. Law fare, or the strategic weaponizing of law to root out corruption, has been used very successfully in China.

Although efforts to root out corruption had been underway before President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012, it is under his presidency that law fare against corruption emerged as a robust state policy to catch what he calls “tigers and flies”- a metaphor used to refer to the influential higher ups as well as lower rank public servants. It has been reported that the insidious cancer of corruption had reached “epidemic or even endemic levels” in China. China had to make some tough choices: either allow corruption to chew away at its economy and be relegated to the dustbin of history, or eradiate corruption from the political and social ecosystems and reach the pinnacle of global excellence. As we all know, China opted for the latter.

Pakistan today faces........

© Daily Times