Berlin, Dec. 5 (CNA) Taiwan was ranked 37th among 176 nations and regions in an annual global index on the perception of corruption in the public sector, dropping five spots from last year, the results showed Wednesday.
Taiwan scored 61 on a scale of 0-100 that indicates the level of transparency.
Its ranking at 37th was the fourth highest in East Asia, according to Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perception Index.
Taiwan trailed Singapore, which had a score of 87, Hong Kong 76 and Japan 74. South Korea was ranked 45th with a score of 56.
Denmark, Finland and New Zealand shared the top spot this year with a score of 90, which nonetheless was lower than in past years due to domestic political scandals and changes, said Liao Ran, the organization's Senior Program Coordinator for East and South Asia.
Among the other nations scoring higher than 80 were Sweden (88), Switzerland (86), Australia (85), Norway (85) and Canada (84).
In 2011, Taiwan was ranked 32nd among 183 nations and territories. On the scale of 0-10 that was used previously, Taiwan scored 6.1 last year, but it would not be accurate to compare the two scores on the different scales, Liao said.
The new scoring system does not emphasize ranking but rather the confidence interval, which refers to the gap between the perceptions of a country on both ends of the spectrum, he said.
For example, Taiwan's scores were at 54 on the lowest end and 67 on the highest, Liao said.
China remained in 80th place with a score of 39, way below the 50 mark, which is considered a failure, he said.
Although China's new leader Xi Jinping expressed determination to fight corruption, when he took over in November, the changes in China's political scene were not reflected in this year's perception index, Liao said.
Scandals over the past few years may have continued to influence the public perception of corruption in China, he added.
"For the new Chinese leaders to succeed in their anti-corruption efforts the first priority should be to understand why and how corruption permeates the pillars of state," the organization said in a feature article released Nov. 8.
A country or territory had to be evaluated by at least three independent institutions before being included in the chart. The polls reflect different groups' opinions on various aspects related to corruption in the polled country.
Some nations or territories were ranked based on data collected in as many as 10 polls, while most had five to seven, according to Liao.
(By Lillian Lin and Kendra Lin)