Emulating ipaidabribe, India inspires China's anti-bribe sites | india | Hindustan Times
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Emulating ipaidabribe, India inspires China's anti-bribe sites

india Updated: Jun 13, 2011 21:34 IST
Chris Buckley

China's avid Internet users are taking a leaf from India's anti-corruption drama by opening websites so that citizens can confess, sometimes in pitiless detail, to buying off officials.

Chinese people can be disdainful of poorer India, but some have sought inspiration from the anti-corruption anger that has swept the South Asian nation, fanned by the Internet.

Several Chinese confess-a-bribe websites, including "I Made a Bribe" (www.ibribery.com), have been inspired by an Indian website "I paid a bribe" (ipaidabribe.com), Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po newspaper reported on Monday.

"Stop seeking improper gains and promote equal competition, and return to us the dream of a fair China," says the Chinese-language front-page of the "I Made a Bribe" website.

India at 87 ranked worse than China (78) in Transparency International's 2010 survey of perceived corruption among 178 nations and regions.

But the Web posts suggested that the Chinese have plenty to complain about.

China's ruling Communist Party regularly vows to stamp out corruption, but a long queue of convicted officials testifies that bribery and illicit enrichment remain common.

One businessman said on www.522phone.com that he had paid 3 million yuan ($463,000) to officials to win contracts, including taking a planning official on a 10-day tour of Europe.

"Don't think I'm trying to show off my wealth with this posting," the businessman wrote. "It's just I'm so toothless and helpless in the face of current-day society."

The Websites do not specify who is running them and whether they have official approval. In the past, some local governments have tried to use the Internet to encourage citizens and officials to confess to corruption.

China has more than 450 million Web users - the most in any country - and, even with censorship, they have made the Internet a lively anti-corruption forum.

But these new Websites may be too blunt for Beijing, which has shut down other, investigative Websites used to air corruption claims.

One message on "I Made a Bribe" voiced such fears: "China's national conditions are nothing like India's," it said. "If the government lets this website continue, this country will have a little hope. If it's shut, then there's no hope at all.