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Bribery business as usual in China

Jocelyn Ford Aug 21, 2006
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BRIAN WATT: In China, bribery is a fact of business life. A whopping 94 percent of Chinese believe that, according to a survey by a Chinese university. Jocelyn Ford has more from Beijing.


JOCELYN FORD: Most people in China believe if you don’t grease someone’s palm, you’ll probably go out of business.

The survey by the prestigious Nankai University said three quarters of the respondents said they would pay bribes themselves.

And most would not squeal on someone who was involved in corruption.

Alistair Nicholas believes that’s true for the foreign business community too. He runs his own public relations agency in Beijing. He is one of the few foreign business people to speak publicly about corruption.

ALISTAIR NICHOLAS: “I think to a large extent people have tended to say that this is the way business is done here, there’s nothing much that one company can do about it.”

Nicholas has tried to organize foreign companies to fight corrupt practices. But so far he’s had little success.

When a potential customer asked him for kickbacks he didn’t go along. But he also didn’t blow the whistle because being squeaky clean in China might scare way other clients.

In Beijing, I’m Jocelyn Ford for Marketplace.

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