Working Together to Punish Corruption
and Build Clean Development Cooperation
----Speech by H.E. Mr. Luo Zhaohui, Chairman of CIDCA,
at the Anti-corruption Forum on Global Development Cooperation
Distinguished Guests, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
On a brilliant mid-summer sunny day in Beijing, I welcome and thank all of you to meet online for the Anti-corruption Forum on Global Development Cooperation. For the first time ever in the history of China’s foreign aid and international development, we have a forum that specializes in anti-corruption and international development cooperation.
The COVID-19 pandemic remains widespread; profound changes unseen in a century are rapidly evolving and the interests of all countries are more closely intertwined. Against this backdrop, both international development cooperation and anti-corruption are part of the positive energy that facilitates human development. International development cooperation is the booster of anti-corruption, while anti-corruption serves as the guardian of international development cooperation.
Over the past decade, whether it is international development cooperation, or combating corruption and upholding integrity, there were many standout points in China’s endeavor. President Xi Jinping put forward the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, the Belt and Road Initiative, and recently the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative. China has continued to take a series of practical initiatives on the ground, including the recent establishment of the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, the Global Development Promotion Center and the Forum on Global Action for Shared Development, which has been praised by the international community. We strengthened deterrence so officials don’t dare to, strengthened the cage of institutions so they’re unable to, and strengthened their vigilance so they have no desire to commit acts of corruption. We’ve secured a sweeping victory in the fight against corruption with further consolidation. In doing so, we have focused on upholding the authority of the United Nations in global anti-corruption governance and working on building a global anti-corruption governance system that follows the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration. In June 2021, Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, made a four-point proposal on international cooperation against corruption at the "Special session of the General Assembly against corruption 2021", which received warm responses and wide support from the international community. In June this year, the 14th BRICS Summit in Beijing adopted and issued the BRICS Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption.
Over the past decade, the Chinese Government promoted anti-corruption and international development cooperation in an integrated manner, focusing on conceptual, institutional and practical innovation with extensive experience.
First, we gradually formed a concept of integrity-based development cooperation with Chinese characteristics. We adhered to the common value of fighting corruption by building a community with a shared future for mankind. We built a system of anti-corruption governance for development cooperation based on strengthening the rule of law. We showed zero tolerance for all types of corruption by means of strict accountability and law enforcement. We prioritized the prevention of corruption, plugged management gaps and removed the breeding ground for corruption. We created synergy by facilitating the development cooperation on global governance against corruption with international cooperation as a guarantee.
Second, we continuously improved a system of integrity-based development cooperation with Chinese characteristics. China has established the China International Development Cooperation Agency. For the first time within the Agency, we established the Department of Supervision and Evaluation specially to strengthen in-service supervision and post-evaluation of foreign aid projects. We have established a management system for foreign aid projects, which features a clear division of labor between the Agency and its implementing departments. We promulgated and implemented the Measures for the Administration of Foreign Aid and other institutional documents, and improved the system of key links. Strictly following the Bidding Law and the Government Procurement Law of the People's Republic of China, we have built up a government procurement and bidding system with high quality and good price.
Third, we continued to promote the practice of clean development cooperation with Chinese characteristics. China demands foreign aid contractors to strictly comply with the laws and regulations of China and the recipient countries. We extensively carried out full process supervision, improved integrity evaluation, and prevented the risk of corruption. China's foreign aid is project-based and most of them are "turnkey" projects or in-kind donations, minimizing the risk of corruption.
Fourth, we actively supported developing partners to strengthen capacity building of preventing and punishing corruptions. In recent years, China has donated materials to anti-corruption institutions in more than 60 developing countries, built two leadership academies for African countries, and provided financial support to relevant international organizations within its capability. More than 60 international training programs in anti-corruption, discipline inspection and supervision have been held since 2018, training nearly 2,000 personnel. China will continue to support developing countries and relevant international organizations in anti-corruption capacity building.
In order to prevent and punish corruption and promote the healthy and sustainable development of international development cooperation, I would like to put forward the following "Sunshine Initiative" on continued anti-corruption in the field of development cooperation.
First, we should insist on fighting corruption and strengthening accountability. We should widely build a political consensus, uphold a zero-tolerance attitude toward corruption, create a zero-loophole system, and carry out zero-barrier cooperation, and make every effort to promote international cooperation in preventing, investigating, prosecuting and punishing corruption in the field of international development, so as to prevent the cross-border flow of corrupt elements and assets.
Second, we should adhere to multilateralism and joint prevention and punishment. We should adhere to and practice genuine multilateralism, firmly support the UNCAC's role as the main channel in global anti-corruption governance, act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and fully fulfill international obligations. We should strengthen coordination and cooperation, and on the basis of consensus, strengthen the anti-corruption governance system in international development cooperation.
Third, we should insist on self-motivated restraint and conscientious anti-corruption. We should strengthen the supervision and management of international development cooperation projects and improve the transparency of cooperation projects. We should strengthen the awareness of self-discipline, legal awareness and responsibility of project implementers, strengthen self-monitoring, and resolutely resist commercial bribery. To encourage relevant departments to eliminate corruption loopholes and rent-seeking space at the same time, in the same direction, with comprehensive efforts, so as to actively create and jointly maintain a standardized, rule-of-law business environment and "pro-clear" government-business relations.
Fourth, we should adhere to the principles of mutual respect, equality and learning from each other. We should faithfully respect the sovereignty, political systems, legal systems, cultural differences and the realities of each country, so as to enhance the anti-corruption cooperation in international development cooperation, featuring equal treatment, respecting for differences, promoting exchanges and mutual understanding and realize common progress. We should oppose the abuse of "long-arm jurisdiction" and interference in the internal affairs of other countries under the excuses of anti-corruption, and oppose the imposition of anti-corruption assistance on others.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a few more words. I have noticed that recently a senior official of the United States has made a series of accusations, claiming to be "saviors" and unwarrantedly accusing China's foreign aid policy for being untransparent, seeking selfish gains, breeding corruption, failing to respond to the current food crisis, and not relieving debt for poor countries.
I would like to emphasize a few points. First, the U.S. has a poor record of foreign aid, which has always been a "roller coaster" with many changes, ups and downs, and difficult to gain credibility. Two years ago, following America First policy, the US withdrew from many international organizations and conventions, refusing to fulfill its foreign aid obligations. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. has overstocked vaccines and remained indifferent to the spread of the pandemic.
Second, the U.S. has never shied away from using aid to seek selfish gains. It arbitrarily sets standards in providing foreign aid, openly interferes in the internal affairs of other countries, emphasizes that aid serves "democracy", human rights and ideology, and confronts the so-called "authoritarianism".
Third, in recent two years, the U.S. has made at least 60 initiatives from "Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment" to "Indo-Pacific Economic Framework" . However, they are all "blank checks". The tone is high, but difficult to implement.
Fourth, for each recent U.S. initiative, there is a huge aid figure. "Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment" involves $600 billion, $22.2 billion for the fight against the pandemic, $4.5 billion for food aid. These commitments have neither a timeline of implementation nor a kick-off arrangement. It is in fact a game of numbers, which only serves the U.S. electoral politics.
China, on the contrary, has been attaching great importance to foreign aid for 73 years, and has invested a lot and contributed a lot. First, China's foreign aid does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, does not attach any political conditions, and attaches importance to teaching people to fish. In particular, over the past decade, President Xi Jinping has proposed to build a community with a shared future for mankind, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative (GDI). We take concrete measures to implement these initiatives, contributing greatly to global sustainable development.
Second, China's foreign aid has contributed greatly to promoting global common development, especially improving the economic and social livelihoods of developing countries, through complete projects, technical assistance, emergency humanitarian aid and human resources development. Buildings, railroads and highways aided by China are all over the world, and the brand projects of "small but smart, benefiting people's livelihood" are widely praised. After the outbreak of the pandemic, China carried out the largest and longest emergency humanitarian assistance since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, providing the largest amount of anti-pandemic materials and vaccines to the world. Recently, we have also provided a large amount of emergency aid to Afghanistan, Tonga, Ukraine and other countries suffering from natural and man-made disasters.
Third, China has been providing a large amount of food aid to foreign countries. Recently, we have provided emergency food aid to more than 20 countries, such as Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda. China provides food aid bilaterally, which is faster and more effective, but we do not rule out providing food aid multilaterally. By setting up agricultural demonstration centers, promoting hybrid rice, providing other forms of technical assistance and training agricultural personnel, China has made our contributions to solving food crisis of developing countries. Multilaterally, China is also the developing country that has provided the largest number of assistance, sent the most experts and carried out the most projects under the framework of South-South cooperation of the FAO. China has also proposed the "Cooperation Initiative on Global Food Security".
Fourth, China has responded positively to the G20 Debt Relief Initiative, providing more than $1.3 billion in debt relief, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the total G20 debt relief, making it the largest contributor in the G20.
China has no intention to argue with the United States in the field of international development assistance. We advocate that, facing setbacks in the world's economic recovery, pandemic ups and downs, and the worsening food crisis, all countries should be in the same boat and ride out the storm together. We are willing to explore the possibilities of conducting bilateral or triangular cooperation with the U.S. in the area of climate change, public health, humanitarian assistance and anti-corruption. It is the U.S. who has provoked groundless attack on China, and we have no choice but to respond and set the record straight.
Let's work together to eradicate corruption, create a clean and honest environment for international development cooperation, and make new contributions to the early realization of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and build a community of a shared future for mankind! I wish the Forum a great success!
Thank you all.