January 1, 2013

David Ignatius [“A new sheriff in Beijing,” op-ed, Dec. 30] was right to highlight corruption in China’s Communist Party as a vitally important challenge to the country’s new leadership.

The pressure for reform emanates from a dramatic rise in public awareness of abuse of power by China’s senior officials at national and municipal levels. This awareness is due in large measure to journalism that has spread across the Internet, aided by social media channels, despite official censorship efforts. A similar phenomenon is being seen in many other countries where rising awareness of high-level corruption has sparked protests and invigorated public campaigns for reform.

Courageous leadership of civil society in many countries has encouraged and organized such efforts, and their success is having dual consequences: It is placing unprecedented pressure on governments to institute governance reforms while also stimulating corrupt regimes to become still more repressive, as we are seeing, for example, in Russia.

Frank Vogl, Washington

The writer is co-founder of Transparency International, a global anti-corruption organization.