Taking bribery through e-commerce channels, such as the WeChat “red envelope” and the prepaid e-card, is being put under the microscope in China’s latest efforts to fight graft, Minister of Supervision Huang Shuxian said on Thursday.
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Last month, regulations on online gift-giving behavior were issued by the Ministry of Education, General Administration of Sport, and anti-graft bodies in East China’s Jiangxi province and Shenyang, the capital of Northeast China’s Liaoning province.
The WeChat “red envelope” and prepaid e-card are forms of making deals online or on the mobile network, a way that is hardly noticed by the public. “But it is not that difficult to be seen with technical application,” said Shi Yuliang, professor of Beijing University of Technology, “Phone numbers and TD will be recorded if transactions are made. A model can be erected to identify abnormal payments and unusual transactions by selecting suspicious information from the monitored data stream.” The campaign requires the support from financial sectors and network and mobile operators.
With the rise of new media, the network and mobile have been deployed as tools of bribery. With the Mid-autumn Festival, mooncake promotion has been launched on WeChat, a leading instant messaging platform. Some sellers promise delivery to the door, and some are able to issue an invoice. The convenience and elusiveness of a digital gift attract the bribers to the virtual market.
As at the end of July, 51,600 cases relating to breaches of the eight-point anti-bureaucracy and formalism guidelines were recorded in China. Some 67,679 Party members were involved, among whom 18,365 were punished by administrative and Party discipline agencies. “The total number of cases in the past seven months surpasses that of the last year,” Huang added.