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High profile scandals in China, India, and the Philippines: What's going on?

A series of high-profile corruption scandals across Asia have engulfed some of the region's fastest-growing economies, posing political challenges and clouding their investment outlook.

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A series of corruption scandals in high places have engulfed some of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, posing political challenges and clouding their investment outlook. While complaints over government graft is nothing new, the latest revelations have raised public concern over the failure of political institutions to keep pace with economic development.

In India, the ruling Congress Party-led coalition has been shaken over the past week by allegations that large bribes were paid to lawmakers to secure a crucial parliamentary vote in 2008. Last month China fired its Railway Ministry head and a senior engineer, amid allegations of widespread embezzlement in China’s high-speed rail program. The minister is the most senior to be disgraced in several years.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to impeach the country’s powerful ombudsman, Merceditas Gutierrez, who is accused of repeatedly stalling investigations into government corruption. Ms. Gutierrez faces an impeachment trial in the Senate after it returns from recess in early May.

Impact of corruption

Experts differ on the impact of corruption on economic growth, though most say that it creates market distortions and undermines effective regulation.

Some entrepreneurs in Asia describe it as the cost of doing business and point to the success of China and India in attracting foreign capital despite their mixed records on governance.

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