Focus on Ethics

China is an emerging economic giant with almost endless potential for business opportunities. Guan xi■—meaning "connections" or "relationships"—is a Chinese way of doing business and is practically considered an art form there. It involves exchanging "favors" when you need something done. Many Chinese busi-nesspeople see it as a way to solidify relationships, get things done, and cultivate well-being. To Westerners, however, it often looks more like graft in the form of bribery, nepotism, gift giving, and kickbacks. Transparency'International, a German-based corruption watchdog, ranks China along with India, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, Malaysia, and South Africa as the countries with the most rampant corruption. However, China is cracking down by enacting stricter anticorruption laws and prosecuting violators. In 2007, China's former director of the State Food and Drug Administration was executed for taking bribes.

1. Is it right for countries to impose their ethical views and behavior on other cultures, such as China?

2. What are the consequences for overseas companies that refuse to engage in less-than-ethical practices that foreign businesses or governments expect or that competitors use in foreign markets?

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