Managing Government Integrity under Hierarchy : anti-corruption efforts in local China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-700
Journal / PublicationJournal of Contemporary China
Issue number94
Online published26 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


In contrast to the early campaign style anti-corruption strategy based on nationwide uniformity, disparate local integrity initiatives and programs have proliferated in China in recent years. Local innovation in managing government integrity has been encouraged by the Center. Drawing on the author’s fieldwork in Guangdong, this article investigates the rationale behind such development and addresses the question of why the central leadership has become receptive to local initiatives in cadre management, an area where political conformity was deemed necessary by an authoritarian regime. It suggests that the strategic adjustment testifies to the institutional failure of the earlier anti-corruption regime that manifested in, inter alia, an acute agency loss problem. The emerging approach to integrity management nevertheless has paradoxical institutional roots. It indicates some new thinking by the central authorities on holding local governments responsible for integrity management. Just as clearly, the adjustment is also driven by the Center’s concern about losing control and its desire to ‘manage’ government integrity under hierarchy.