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China’s anti-graft campaign and international anti-corruption norms: Towards a “new international anti-corruption order”?

Crime, Law and Social Change

Published online on



This article analyzes the growing impact of an increasingly powerful China on the evolution of norms governing the global fight against corruption. Combining insights into the diffusion of anti-corruption norms and China’s ‘two-way socialization’ into the international order with an analysis of the Chinese leadership’s internationalized anti-corruption campaign, it argues that China’s active involvement in the international fight against corruption is bound to challenge prevailing international ‘definitions’ and ‘solutions’ of corruption. Despite the considerable attention to supposed incompatibilities between ‘culturally insensitive’ Western anti-corruption efforts and conflicting Chinese cultural norms, the actual ‘China challenge’ to the international anti-corruption regime is much less a cultural than a political one. While China’s formal-legal anti-corruption system has been receptive to international socialization, China’s own contributions to international norm making are defined by the Party’s top-level leadership, which promotes a different set of anti-corruption norms. However, a coherent alternative ‘Chinese model’ of anti-corruption, akin to the globally propagated ‘China path’ for economic development and poverty reduction, is not yet in sight.