International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Development and Social Change (IDSC)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Jude Fernando

Second Reader

Sasha Adkins




Xiangru YIN

Corruption is considered as one of the biggest hurdles faced by the Chinese government, as it has the effect of thwarting economic growth by perpetuating poverty and income inequality, and discouraging foreign investments into the country. However, unlike other countries, China is a special case because of the Chinese concept of guanxi that highlights the importance of maintaining relationships and networks. This system helps to better understand corruption in the Chinese context. The rules of guanxi are deeply embedded in Chinese society, making it very difficult to distinguish a legitimate guanxi practice from corruption. By understanding this system, it helps in locating ways how guanxi leads to corruption.

Positivism is used to determine the seriousness of corruption in China and how it is related to the practice guanxi. Moreover, a quantitative research approach is used to offer a great level of depth to the issue on hand. This study uses scientific research methodology by making an observation and empirical evidences about the social behavior in China, through the critical analysis of a segment of a published body of knowledge such as corruption cases from publicly available data and to determine the role guanxi at each case.

Based on the analysis conducted, it was found that guanxi is considered as a moral norm in the country that dramatically influences what constitutes a suitable social behavior within the Chinese culture. Guanxi also provides the standards and rules on the establishment, continuance, and use of relationships and connections. More specifically, guanxi has profound influence on almost all social interactions in China, whether it is in the government or in business. As such, it blurs the line between normal guanxi relationships and corrupt practices, making corruption an intrinsic characteristic of the Chinese government, as well as the Chinese society. Therefore, it is of great significance to talk about the relationship between guanxi network and corruption in that guanxi is a part of Chinese culture but distorted recently.

Jude Fernando, Ph.D.

Chief Instructor

Sasha Adkins, Ph.D. Candidate

Assistant Professor



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