Thursday, December 20, 2007

Crashing the Corruption Party

Chinese officials launched a website (yfj.mos.gov.cn) this week where concerned citizens can report incidences of corruption in an effort to clean up China's notoriously crooked economic and political structure. The result? Multiple website crashes, as the URL was flooded with angry reports of ill-doing as well as critiques of the website's appearance and messages of encouragement for this latest effort to fight corruption.



Some posters departed from reports of specific incidents to comment on larger problems, such as the posh lifestyles led by officials and their families. As the Washington Post reported, one poster, "condemned what he described as the soft life led by officials' offspring. With no visible source of income, he said, the young princelings drive new cars, live in new houses and spend money like there is no tomorrow. 'This is not normal,' he added. 'You should look into it.'"



We hope that, once the government has fixed the website so that it is nice and stable, some of the reports will actually be read and addressed (in the case of princelings, not very likely). Otherwise, the site represents nothing more than a digital Potemkin village.