Soon after President Xi Jinping came to power nearly six years ago, he launched an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign to consolidate his hold on power and strengthen the legitimacy of the ruling Communist Party. Since then, hardly a day has gone by without reports of party and government officials being detained or jailed on corruption allegations.
With more than one million officials already punished, Xi and his right-hand man Vice-President Wang Qishan have made notable progress in taming what was once rampant official corruption and thereby achieving the first of three goals in ensuring officials “dare not, cannot, and do not want to be corrupt”. But the high-profile and heavy handed campaign has produced unpleasant side effects. One side effect, already well-documented, is paralysis of the country’s massive bureaucracy, which has made policymaking and implementation slow and frustrating.