by Austin Bay
January 20, 2010
game hit the Internet on July 25, 2007. With a title reminiscent of a Bruce Lee
epic or -- a much more dangerous allusion for Beijing bureaucrats schooled in
tumultuous history -- an echo of "Outlaws of the Marsh" (tales of
12th century Chinese Robin Hoods), "Incorruptible Fighter" riveted
Chinese cyber-audiences who had an angry yen (or a yuan) for tarring,
feathering and then executing corrupt government officials.
winning the game entailed eliminating government crooks. China Daily described
the game as "the story of a man who fights corrupt officials and purifies
himself by improving morality and ethics. After weathering various hardships
and weeding out the bad guys, he finally gets to embrace a corruption-free world
in which people live peacefully."
Daily credited government workers in the city of Ningbo
with creating the game. A commenter at StrategyPage.com (writing on Aug. 20,
2007) said this was true and provided additional details: Besides nailing
crooked leaders, players could get even with the leaders' kids "and their
for a blockbuster. The game had sex, mayhem and graphic revenge extracted from
arrogant, thieving officials protected by a Kafka-esque system they controlled.
the game itself had no happily ever after. "Incorruptible Fighter"
disappeared from the Internet on Aug. 5, 2007. Who shut it down? That was never
quite clear, but Internet commenters argued it scorched "exposed nerves."
it did. Real world corruption threatens China's
government and economy, and its stability. Chinese President Hu Jintao said in
October 2007, "Resolutely punishing and effectively preventing corruption
bears on the popular support for the party and on its very survival."
While the demise of the Communist Party (which has corrupt and reformist
factions) would ultimately benefit China,
a Chinese civil war featuring nuclear-armed regional warlords is a
-- from petty graft by the county commissioner to the mega-theft of billions by
tyrants -- is a global affliction. Corruption coupled with systemic lack of
accountability produces more than cynicism and anger. In the developing world,
it steals the future, condemning millions to poverty.
-- which reaches to the highest levels -- stains the mullahs' dictatorship in Iran.
The Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his cohort came to power in 1979
promising to end the Shah's authoritarian rule and family tradition of nepotism
and theft. Khomeini died, and his heirs "two upped" the Shah by
creating both a more despotic and more venally corrupt junta. Disgust with the
mullahs' theft fuels opposition to the "Islamic Revolutionary" regime
and empowers Iran's
aid advocates don't like to say it in public because government officials in
developing countries will withhold visas or harass their local staffers, but
corruption by local, state and tribal elites undermines relief efforts and
economic development programs.
officials and corporate presidents in wealthy nations can also be bribed.
Saddam Hussein's corruption of the U.N. Oil For Food program is an example of
an international bribery scam. From the mid-1990s until the 2003 invasion,
Saddam bought political support by slipping millions to dozens of organizations
has made counter-corruption programs a key element in the War on Terror.
Corruption feeds crime and discontent, and terrorists leverage both to buy
weapons, gain safe haven, make money and attract recruits. Egyptian corruption
is one of the Muslim Brotherhood's chief recruiting tools. Afghanistan's
Taliban is in the narcotics business, but so are rogues in the Afghan government.
acknowledges it has a corruption problem, one that undermines its credibility
with the economically productive middle classes.
Pakistanis chided for local corruption glare at U.S. State Department
do-gooders. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is accused of selling Barack
Obama's former Senate seat -- and that's Chicago,
Obama's political training ground. Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner and House
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., both repeatedly
failed to pay taxes, in big numbers, and those two big shots create and enforce
tax law. Pakistani, Zimbabwean, Ugandan, Russian, Iraqi, Guatemalan and Libyan
officials confronting American anti-corruption programs just snicker.
Outlaws of the Marsh opposed the Song Dynasty, but historians describe the tale
as "a call to oppose all corrupt governments." The fight continues.