China Pledges Crackdown on Bribery

China has pledged to crack down on companies found guilty of illegal payments, in the wake of the recently announced investigation of
bribery allegations against GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK).

The Chinese commerce ministry on Wednesday said that the government “stands firmly against any form of commercial bribery” and would punish any foreign or domestic company found to be in violation of the law.

“Regardless of whether it’s a Chinese company or a foreign company, whoever breaks China’s laws will be punished and will have to bear the corresponding legal responsibility,” the ministry announced.

Ministry spokesman, Shen Danyang, denied suggestions that China has opted to focus on foreign companies. He said the police probe into GSK demonstrated the government’s “determination to improve the investment environment and create a fair and level playing field for investors from around the world”.

An editorial in the
People’s Daily
commented: “The GlaxoSmithKline (China) bribery case in China shows the complex and arduous nature of the struggle against commercial corruption… Striking hard against the commercial bribery of multinational companies has important significance for safeguarding the market’s economic order and maintaining a fair and competitive environment.”

Chinese police have accused GSK of using travel agencies and consultancies to provide bribes to doctors, officials, medical organisations and hospitals, and have detained four GSK executives.

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