China Identifies Cryptocurrency as a New form for Bribery and Corruption

A recent conference held by the Chinese Association for the Study of Integrity and Legal Systems highlighted the rise of new forms of corruption facilitated by cryptocurrencies and electronic gift cards. This national organization, approved by the Chinese Law Society and registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, focuses on legal systems and corruption issues.

Experts at the 2023 annual meeting discussed the challenges posed by these new mediums, which have become covert channels for bribery and corruption in the digital era. Traditional cash and tangible assets are no longer the only means of bribery; now, online transfers, electronic gift cards, and even cryptocurrencies are used for illicit transactions, enabling more discreet and hard-to-trace corrupt practices.

The rapid advancement in digital currencies and blockchain technology poses a significant challenge to existing legal and regulatory frameworks. As these technologies offer anonymity and decentralization, they have become attractive tools for corrupt activities. Some corrupt individuals use encrypted digital currencies for cross-border transactions, avoiding online surveillance through “cold storage” methods like offline wallets and hard drives.

The increasing use of virtual currencies and digital assets in corruption reflects a shift towards more sophisticated, technology-driven methods. This trend necessitates a dual approach of legal and technological governance. Strengthening legislation to cover new forms of bribery and corruption, expanding the definition of bribery to include non-material benefits, and enhancing the digital infrastructure for monitoring and enforcement are essential steps.

Experts recommend establishing comprehensive databases and rapid analysis systems to improve case handling. Integrating core corruption data with industry-wide big data can enhance preventive measures against new forms of corruption. Additionally, understanding the legal status of virtual properties and regulating them effectively within criminal law is crucial.

To effectively combat these emerging challenges, experts suggest refining anti-corruption legislation, enhancing the technological capabilities of monitoring and enforcement agencies, and fostering public participation in reporting corrupt activities. Addressing the root causes, such as gaps in the power and supervision systems, particularly in areas with high concentrations of power and resources, is also vital.

In summary, combating new forms of corruption in the age of digital currencies and electronic gift cards requires a comprehensive approach, combining legislative updates, technological advancements, and societal vigilance to maintain integrity and fairness in governance.

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