Current Research

Feb 15 2022

Current Research, February 2022

Bertram Lang on China's Anti-Corruption Policy as Fragile Crisis Management

IZO Coordinator Bertram Lang has published a contribution in an edited volume on Crises in Authoritarian Regimes by Jörg Baberowski and Martin Wagner. The volume is the outcome of an international workshop organised by historians and political scientists at Princeton University and Humboldt University in January 2021.

Based on quantiative text analysis of 6,957 articles published on the topic in Chinese newspapers, Bertram Lang analyses the trajectory of Chinese anti-corruption policies and discourses since the late Hu-Wen era until today. Using topic modeling and sentiment analysis, he shows how corruption was constructed as an existential crisis immediately before and after Xi's ascent to power and how domestic and international cases of corruption are treated in systematically different ways in Chinese media. At the same time, the analysis also elucidates the severe problems in framing anti-corruption during Xi's second term, where news reports strike and increasingly fragile balance between announcements of success and calls to persevere in a 'heroic' fight. Initially vocal voices calling for the institutionalisation of the anti-corruption struggle based on rule-of-law principles have been gradually muted over the past years.

Lang, Bertram (2022): China's 'Anti-Corruption' Campaign Under Xi Jinping: Framing Catastrophe and Catharsis in a Never-Ending Crisis, in: Jörg Baberowski & Martin Wagner (eds.): Crises in authoritarian regimes, Campus: Frankfurt/ New York, pp. 79-113.