Challenge to cut ties between US business, govt officials

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/12 21:19:20

Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary, has been doing business with a shipping venture in Russia, two of whose shareholders have been sanctioned by Washington. Another key shareholder is Russian President Vladimir Putin's son-in-law, said the newly leaked documents known as the Paradise Papers. In an interview with Bloomberg Television Monday, Ross defended himself claiming "there's nothing whatsoever wrong … we have no business ties to those Russian individuals who are under sanction."

His argument, however, sounds unconvincing. Setting aside whether he is investing in a sanctioned Russian firm, analysts articulated that as commerce secretary, Ross is "not supposed to have commercial ties at all, of any sort."

In the US and many other Western nations, where democracy equals elections, elections equal political marketing, political marketing equals competition over money, resources and public relations, the forces of capital have long affected who will be selected to serve as a high-level official. When a new president sits behind the desk in the Oval Office, he normally takes a bunch of donors who supported him during the campaigns along with him. That's why quite a few senior counselors in the Commerce Department or Treasury Department are top executives from the country's established enterprises.

The way a state is governed is key to the development of modern nations and people are playing an essential role in it. The system of China, in this regard, is now presenting its advantages. In the Communist Party of China's (CPC) top decision-making body, the Standing Committe of CPC Central Committee, the candidates should have passed a strict political assessment and served at least twice as Party secretary of a Chinese province or in equivalent managerial posts. Other high-level officials of ministries and commissions must also go through examinations and similar evaluations of their performance from grass-roots units. They must also report on their properties and investments as well as the employment of their spouse and children.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has established a strict system of supervision. Comprehensive and strict governance of the Party has become one of the biggest highlights of the CPC Central Committee's achievements.  Meanwhile, Beijing has also established national, provincial, municipal and county-level supervision commissions, so as to keep a watchful eye on officials. Those senior counselors and high-ranking officials in the US doing businesses, who possess substantial money, resources and contacts, on the other hand, may easily get involved in questionable business. This is determined by the US system, which can hardly be changed. Cutting these officials' connections with capital and how to better select and supervise them are pressing challenges for Washington.

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