More than two decades of market-oriented reforms in China have created unprecedented and breakneck economic growth and turned China into one of the most dynamic economies in the world. However, the development of reliable, transparent, and effective corporate governance and anti-corruption practices – critical elements for stable and successful market economies over the longer-term – has not kept pace with the growth of the Chinese economy. This widening gap threatens the long-term viability of the Chinese market and its attractiveness as an investment destination.

The losses due to weak corporate governance practices and corruption are estimated at nearly 15 percent of China’s GDP, though the figure may be much higher. Corruption in the public and private sector remains a serious problem in China, including bribery, embezzlement, smuggling, crooked government procurement, tax evasion, illegal tax incentives, and arbitrary decision-making by provincial and local authorities. With the growing number of Chinese companies listing on both Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges, an even longer list of aspiring Chinese companies preparing for international IPOs, and the intensifying fiscal relationships between U.S. and Chinese corporate entities, the American and international investment community has an ever-increasing interest in strengthening China’s corporate governance norms and structures.

CSIS-Hills Governance Center at Tsinghua University

In collaboration with the Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS, the Hills Program on Governance has established a Governance Center in China. This Center focuses on research, analysis, intellectual exchange, and training to promote and deepen understanding of effective corporate governance. With the generous support of the Stuart Family Foundation, the primary objective of the Hills Governance Center at Tsinghua University is to foster governance research projects, conferences and events across the private, public, and civic sectors by promoting transparency and accountability within and among those sectors.Specifically, the Center seeks to facilitate dialogues through its website, programs and publications to improve governance practices, identify the costs of mis-governance, and develop benchmarks for corporate governance reform. Its work aims primarily at corporate directors, CEOs, and CFOs, as well as mid-level executives, accountants, auditors and persons relevant to developing policies at regulatory and public agencies. 

Launch of the Hills Governance Center at Tsinghua University, December 6, 2005

On December 6, 2005, the CSIS-Hills Governance Center at Tsinghua University was officially launched in Beijing, China. To read a complete Press Release of the commencement conference of the CSIS-Hills Governance Center at Tsinghua University.

Recent Activities

China Corruption Measurement Index created - August 2009

With a grant from the Stuart Family Foundation, the Hills Governance Center, Tsinghua recently completed two multi-year research initiatives. In the first part of the project, the Center led by Dr.Cheng Wenhao created an index to objectively measure corruption in Chinese local government bodies and municipalities.In the second part, the Center developed case studies of corruption investigations which exposed systemic loopholes. These projects will not only help increase awareness of corrupting influences in China but would also contribute to curricula that are more interactive and bring about probity in public life. The report can be accessed here.

General Electric China Conference: May 16, 2006

On May 16, 2006, the Tsinghua Center in partnership with General Electric China hosted a one-day conference on corporate compliance reform and improper payments in the Chinese economy. The conference brought together over one hundred individuals from the public and private sectors, including the multinational business community, government officials and leading academics to discuss objectives of governance reform for China.

The keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Yufu Li, Vice Minister of Supervision of China. Distinguished guests from General Electric China and China Ocean Shipping Corporation (COSCO) made presentations about their internal control policies and procedures regarding corporate compliance reform. More information on the Tsinghua Center/General Electric China conference can be found at the following website address, “Justice Net,” China’s largest legal online news portal, which provided live coverage of the entire event: (Chinese language site).

On February 24, 2006, the Tsinghua Center hosted Djordjija Petkoski, lead specialist at the World Bank and head of the Business, Competitiveness and Development team at the World Bank Institute for a presentation entitled “Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility.” In April 2006, Dr. Cheng met with Professor Kenneth E. Scott, a member of the CSIS–Hills Program’s Academic Council, and Professor of Law and Business Emeritus at Stanford Law School to discuss future research plans of the Tsinghua Center.

In August 2006, the Tsinghua Center hosted two presentations on corporate social responsibility by Professor Dennis Driscoll of the National University of Ireland.

In September 2006, the Tsinghua Center held a meeting with Nick Duncan of the Public Integrity Education Network (PIEN). The objective of PIEN is to support the expansion of anti-corruption and pro-integrity courses within academic institutions and training organizations internationally. Currently, the Tsinghua Center hosts the Chinese chapter of PIEN.

On October 9, 2006, the Tsinghua Center hosted a roundtable discussion with Dr. John Hamre, CSIS president and CEO, entitled “The Role of Think Tanks in the United States, and the Impact on U.S.–China Relations.” Representatives from Tsinghua University, including faculty members and graduate students, participated in this roundtable dialogue with Dr. Hamre.


Read 'Governance Challenges in China' event overview


Measuring Corruption in China 2009

National Integrity System Transparency International Country Study Report China 2006

Completed Translations

OECD: Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Sector: Toolkit (Chinese and English) 

Contact Information

Hills Governance Center at Tsinghua University

School of Public Policy and Management
Tsinghua University
Beijing 100084 P.R. China

Tel: (86-10) 6277-1293


CHENG, Wenhao (Executive Director, Hills Governance Center; Professor, School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University)