What's Wrong with Corruption? Messages from Confessions in China

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Primarily based on contextualized discourse analysis of confessions from 119 convicted party cadres on corruption charges in China, this presentation will make two arguments. First, these confession texts are propaganda that signals the government's strength to punish outliers.

Second, using such a warning to deter corruption is subject to an escalating scale of corruption given social pressure for success and peer learning among grafters. This presentation will contribute to the scholarship of corruption by suggesting possible mechanisms of endogenous reproduction of corruption within the officialdom. It will also present confessions as a new type of information communication among political elites for studies of authoritarian regimes.

About the speaker

Juan Wang is an associate professor of political science at McGill University, Canada. Her research has primarily focused on local governance and state-society relations in China. Her work has appeared in the China Quarterly, Journal of East Asian Studies, Asian Journal of Law and Society, Modern China, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Chinese Political Science, as well as Crime, Law and Social Change.

Her first book, entitled, The Sinews of State Power: The Rise and Demise of the Cohesive Local State in Rural China was published by Oxford University Press (New York) in 2017.

Before the seminar

All attendees are invited to join us in the CIW Tea House from 3.30pm for an informal discussion with the guest speaker before the seminar.
The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the China Institute and the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University's College of Asia & the Pacific.