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拒绝送上门的不义之财!

(2019-02-17 07:49:41)
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杂谈

1986年,敝人在央行工作时,在北洼路的央行干部单身宿舍与行贿者展开了一场艰巨的斗争。1996年8月3日,我將此文发表在纽约时报的IHT.

Refusing a windfall at the doorstep!

By JOE ZHANG, Aug. 3, 1996. The New York Times, IHT.

It was a freezing winter evening in Beijing in 1986 and I was home alone, hand-washing several shirts in the small, dimly lit room that I shared with two colleagues. We all worked at the People's Bank of China, the central bank, where I was a manager.

There were several gentle knocks at the door. When I opened it, three men stood on threshold, smiling. "How have you been, Huaqiao? Do you still remember me?" one of them asked. Huaqiao is my given name. The visitor introduced himself as Zongzi, a villager from my hometown, Gongchang, a remote spot in central Hubei Province. I remembered that I had seen him there some years before.

I don't wish to sound immodest, but one of the most important events to occur in my hometown in the late 1970s was my admission to the university in Wuhan, the province's capital. In the memory of our village elders, I was the first in the district to have been given that privilege. For them, a university education meant fortune and power.

The luck was not only for the student but for the whole village. The entire community might benefit from government grants, better roads and other possible results of my future influence.

After four years at the university, I went on to do postgraduate studies at the central bank's graduate school in Beijing. Then I was given a job in the bank's planning division.

The visitors from my hometown wanted a favor. Zongzi had become a "relationship manager" for a government shop in Gongchang. He had to sell a large quantity of hemp stored in the shop and said he needed me to exert influence on his prospective customers.

I replied that after only three years in Beijing, I had few relevant contacts and very little influence. But they must have thought I was trying to find excuses.

"If you would do us this favor, we would appreciate it very much," Zongzi said. One of his aides pulled two big bundles of cash from a bag. I almost fainted when they told me how much was there — 20,000 yuan. In 1986, my monthly salary was a mere 60 yuan. The bribe they were offering was more than 27 times my annual salary!

I was fully aware of the danger of accepting bribes. I also knew it was morally wrong. But how I would have loved that extra money. Despite my status as a civil servant, I could not afford even to buy a bicycle.

Realizing that I must resist temptation, I repeated over and over that I was neither able nor willing to get involved in helping them sell their hemp. Thinking I might still be persuaded, they restructured the deal: They would give the money to my parents in Gongchang if I promised to help them. I knew this was a common way of accepting bribes while greatly reducing the risk of being caught and charged. Still I refused.

They tried another tack: Their company would hire my unemployed brother and the money could go to him as a bonus or sales commission. When I rejected that, they said they would give the cash to me as a gift and demand nothing in return. I realized, of course, that there was no such thing as a free lunch. Finally, they put the two bundles of notes on my bed and left hastily. I chased them down the corridor and only after a fierce argument managed to hand the cash back.

There is a postscript: I heard the other day that Zongzi is doing fine running his own business in China.

The writer, an economist at W.I. Carr Securities in Hong Kong, contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.

https://xueqiu.com/4035610190/121203401

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