Monday, May 28, 2007

File This Under Shoddy Reporting

A small scale rally in Macao (now part of China) on the first of May resulted in scuffling between policemen and the participants of the rally. Read about what happened here.

After the incident, most reports, stories, and commentaries cited corruption as one of the main reasons why it happened. See an example here. (For those who do not understand Chinese, scroll down and you'll see an English translation of the piece).

But is corruption really the culprit?

Let's check out the facts.

According to Transparency International , Macao ranked 26 out of a total of 163 in its latest Corruption Perception Index (2006). The higher the ranking a place got, the less corrupt a place was. US got a ranking of 20 while HK was placed at 15. In fact, Macao has a far cleaner government according to that index compared with countries like Taiwan (34 place) and South Korea (42 place). Check out the latest index here. And if you check out the World Bank's Governance Indicators, the results are not that far off from the CPI index put out by the Transparency International.

If Macao indeed has a relatively clean government compared with others (this is a very important qualifier, for we are not talking in relative not absolute terms here), then why so many reporters, analysts and pundits jumped to the conclusion that corruption was one of the major culprits which caused the May day incidient there?

I have an answer, but first let you tell me what do you think first! File this under Shoddy Reporting.

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