Looking at Corruption: China vs. the United States

September 24, 2013

During National Library Week a few years ago, I attended the Golden Leaves event at Cal Poly Pomona’s University Library. Afterwards, I joined a conversation about China, and one American citizen who had never been to China mentioned the corruption in China and how flawed their legal system was. He was adamant that China had to change and become more democratic. He also said there were a lot of angry people in China who wanted change—how did he know that?

However, there are two sides to every story, and “While the true extent and cost of white-collar crime (in the United States) are unknown, it is estimated to cost the United States more than $300 billion annually, according to the FBI.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Wall Street corruption and greed in America that caused the 2007/08 global financial crises may have led to global losses of at least $15 Trillion.

In addition, a United Nations report says that by the end of 2009, the global increase in jobless persons was 27 million more than in 2007 before the financial crises hit—should we say, “Thank you, America?”

What about China?

The Economist’s View says, “For one thing, the Chinese trust their government more. According to a recent World Values Survey, 96.7 percent of Chinese expressed confidence in their government, compared to only 37.3 percent of Americans.

“Likewise, 83.5 percent of Chinese thought their country is run for all the people, rather than for a few big interest groups, whereas only 36.7 percent of Americans thought the same of their country. With this relatively higher trust, China’s government and enterprises are better able to enact and implement strict policies that promote saving and growth.”

I wonder if all the greed and corruption in China will ever threaten the global economy and cost millions of people jobs.

And what about corruption in India, the democracy next door to China? We seldom if ever hear anyone criticizing India for corruption. However, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranks India as more corrupt than China. In fact, there are 108 countries of 183 listed as more corrupt than China.

Why does the Western media focus so much attention on China when it comes to the topic of corruption while mostly ignoring the 108 countries worse than China? I mean, even Thailand—a staunch US ally—is more corrupt than China, and Mexico is worse than Thailand and India!

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth

December 30, 2011

The cover for The Economist of October 2 – 8, 2010, placed a bet on India in an economic race with China.

The Economist wants India to win this race, because India is a democracy as is the U.S., but what isn’t mentioned is that China is evolving into a republic closer to the original republic that the United States was in 1776 with a Chinese twist, which is what Dr. Sun Yat-sen wanted.

Some claim China is ruled be a dictator today but that is not true. China is a republic that is guided by the word of law, which is the essence of a Republic.  In 1982, China wrote a new Constitution that spelled out the law and China’s schoolchildren are taught what these laws mean and how to live with them. However, the Chinese Constitution is not the same as the one in the US, so the laws are different.

I opened The Economist magazine and read the two pieces the cover was about. One was India’s surprising economic miracle and the second piece was A bumpier but freer road.

On page 11, I read, “many observers think China has done a better job than India of curbing corruption…”

On page 77, a Western banker was quoted saying, “It’s much easier to deal with the well-understood ‘organization chart’ of China Inc than the freewheeling chaos of India.”

Corruption exists in every country and Transparency International attempts to define and identify what global corruption looks like. Comparing China and India, we discover that while India’s corruption appears to be getting worse, corruption in China is improving due to the evolution of its new legal system.

In fact, in the past 3 years, the perception of corruption in India was 74%, [in the United States that perception was 72%], while in China it was only 46%.

In addition, the BBC reported recently, “Widespread corruption in India costs billions of dollars and threatens to derail the country’s growth…”

After I read both pieces in The Economist comparing China with India, it was obvious that India would never beat China economically without controlling its corruption, shrinking severe poverty and increasing literacy. Overall, the latest World Bank data shows that India’s poverty rate is 27.5% [330 million people], based on India’s current poverty line of $1.03 per person per day and an illiteracy rate of almost 26% [312 million people].

In comparison, literacy in China is more than 94% and the World Bank says in 2004, people in China living in poverty represented 2.8% of the population.

There are more reasons The Economist is wrong about India winning this economic race just because it is a democracy. One reason is that America’s Founding Fathers hated democracy and had a good reason.

Live Journal goes into detail on this topic. Live Journal says, “It would be an understatement to say that the (U.S.) Founding Fathers hated democracy. They warned against it vehemently and relentlessly. They equated it–properly–with mob rule.”


The Founders of the US, who hated democracy, built a free country [a republic]. Our [meaning many Americans] ignorance of history, which has led to a love of democracy, is causing the US to surrender its freedoms at an alarming rate.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866 – 1925), known as the father of modern China [by both China and Taiwan], said he wanted to model China’s government after America but by combining Western thought with Chinese tradition.

When he said this, it was 1910, and America, by definition, was still a republic. Once you read the two pieces in The Economist, you may understand why India’s democracy cannot beat China’s growing republic.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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 This revised and edited post first appeared October 13, 2010.

The Danger of False Truths – Part 3/3

July 23, 2011

In another e-mail, this “old” friend questioned China’s behavior in Asia and mentioned the disagreement between Vietnam and China over some offshore oil fields that both countries claim.

He felt this was a sign that China would wage war on other countries and inferred this would not happen if China were a democracy similar to the US, since “no democracy has ever gone to war with another democracy” (his words).

Soon after I received that e-mail, I used Google and found Democracies Do Not Make War on One Another … or Do They? by Matthew White, who does a great job throwing ice-cold water on another false truth.

White says, basically, it depends on the definition of democracy and that individuals will shift the meaning of the definition to fit what he or she wants to believe.

To come up with a set of probabilities, White studied the wars that took place in 1967 and came up with these results:

White wrote, “Now, 1967 is just a single year, but I’ve spent a good deal of this Atlas counting democracies. I can state with reasonable certainty that 44.5% of mapable sovereignties during the WW2-Y2K Era were full democracies. This calculates out to…

  • The odds of 2 random democracies going to war: 19.8%
  • The odds of 2 random non-democracies going to war: 30.8%
  • The odds of a random democracy going to war with a random non-democracy: 49.4%

He also mentions an interesting theory that “no two countries with a McDonald’s Restaurant have ever gone to war with one another”, which seems to indicate that as countries are incorporated into the global economy by trans-national corporations, they stop waging war on one another.

This theory is an individual truth that most of us might want to believe since there then should be no worry that the US and China will ever wage war.

In 2009, the US had 13,381 McDonalds and in 2010, China had almost 1,000 with thousands more planned. In addition, China has thousands of Pizza Huts, KFCs, Starbucks and the Chinese love to drive Buicks and Fords. Wal-Mart is even building stores in China.

However, I discovered the McDonald’s theory might be another false truth.

Pakistan has 25 McDonalds and the first one was built in 1998. India has 192 with the first built in 1996, and the last Indo-Pakistani War was in 1999.

Return to The Danger of False Truths – Part 2 or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

The Danger of False Truths – Part 2/3

July 22, 2011

My “old” friend said, “It isn’t the fact that China has crooks, every nation has them. However, the degree of corruption in China is simply breathtaking. But not unexpected due to the fact it’s an oligarchy with strict censorship of anything deemed inappropriate by the ones who are the most open to corruption.”

My reply was to refer him to Transparency International, which identifies itself as the global coalition against corruption. The results are worth reading and provide compelling evidence that my “old” friend may be wrong since many democracies, according to Transparency International, are more corrupt than China.

Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index score below five, on a scale from 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt).”

Of 178 countries ranked for corruption, China tied with seven for a rank of 78 and a score of 3.5.  The countries China tied with were Colombia, Greece, Lesotho, Peru, Serbia and Thailand.

If you check the list of Electoral Democracies, you will discover that Greece, Peru, and Serbia are on it and many other electoral democracies have a lower rank than China.

For example, Argentina is ranked 105 with a score of 2.9.

India, often touted as the world’s largest democracy, is ranked 87th with a score of 3.3 and is home to a third of the world’s people that live in severe poverty.

In fact, according to Economy Watch, India’s underground economic corruption is believed to be 50% of the country’s GDP or $640 billion US dollars at the end of 2008.

Mexico is ranked 98 with a score of 3.1.

The Ukraine is ranked 134 with a score of 2.4.

The most telling evidence is Singapore, which did not make the Electoral Democracy list. However, Singapore shares 1st place with Denmark and New Zealand as the three countries with the least corruption in the world.

Qatar was ranked 19th and is an Emirate, which is similar to a monarchy or sultanate, but a government in which the supreme power is in the hands of an emir (the ruler of a Muslim state).

The US rank was 22 with a score of 7.1, which is a C- (good but not perfect).

The reason those 16,000 to 18,000 Chinese crooks fled China for mostly the US was because if caught, they would probably be executed.

In the US, all these crooks have to do is pay taxes then reap the rewards of their corruption in a land where more people go to prison than any country on earth. After all, Bonnie and Clyde are folk heroes in the US with a Hollywood movie.

Continued on July 23, 2011 in The Danger of False Truths – Part 3 or return to Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

Everyone Cannot Be Rich – Even in China

October 18, 2010

I read an interesting piece from the Inter Press Service. Antonaneta Becker writes of growing resentment in China of the widening gap between the rich and poor.

She mentions talk of a revolution to redistribute the wealth.

What Becker fails to mention is that in India the poverty and corruption is worse. The Economist for October 2 says, “that China has done a better job than India of curbing corruption…”

China isn’t alone when it comes to bribes and corruption.

Earlier this year in Thailand, unrest over corruption turned deadly resulting in cancelled flights from 40 countries.

In fact, a report in the Asian Journal of Public Administration says, “Corruption is a serious problem in many countries. Indeed, in many parts of the world, corruption has become a way life…”

Becker may not be aware that in 1949 when the Communists came to power, about a million wealthy landowners were executed and land was distributed among the poor. 

With the landowners gone, agriculture broke down resulting in famines that led to the deaths of about 30 million poor Chinese.

Becker is right about China’s central government fearing an uprising among the poor. 

However, rebellions of this nature have happened in China before and most have failed.  During the 19th century, those failures cost more than 30 million lives when the Qing Dynasty showed the world that they still had the mandate to rule.

The best solution is to see that the poor have a house and earn enough to buy food since the price of challenging the mandate to rule is often chaos, anarchy and death.  No one wins.

See Global Censorship and Corruption


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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