Transparency International stands by data in poll

07/12/2013 11:07 PM

Taipei, July 12 (CNA) Transparency International is standing by its findings on Taiwan reported in its latest report on corruption but acknowledged misidentifying the polling company that actually did the survey and the method used.

TI's 2013 Global Corruption Barometer report sparked skepticism in Taiwan with its finding that 36 percent of people in the country who had used any of eight government services in the past year had paid a bribe, a figure far above past TI surveys.

That was the third highest percentage of the 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region surveyed, behind only Cambodia and Bangladesh.

The doubts were further heightened when local media found that the company listed in TI's 2013 report as having conducted the test in Taiwan -- Shanghai-based WisdomAsia -- denied having done the job.

"We have full confidence in the results of the GCB survey, including those for Taiwan," said Finn Heinrich, research director of the TI Secretariat, by e-mail.

"As is standard practice, the GCB survey data underwent a series of internal and external validity checks, including verification by an independent survey methodology expert," Heinrich said.

But the company that did the survey was not WisdomAsia as was reported but Cass Research Center (CRC), a body under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Liao Ran, a senior program coordinator with TI's Asia Pacific department, said Gallup later decided to have another Chinese company do the survey when WisdomAsia turned down the job without informing TI.

Heinrich attributed the problem to a "miscommunication between the TI-Secretariat and WIN/Gallup International Association."

"We regret this error and will issue a correction in the online version of the Global Corruption Barometer report," Heinrich said.

The bribery finding in the Global Corruption Barometer report struck a nerve with Taiwan's government, which has made clean government one of its top priorities, and raised doubts because it was inconsistent with the experiences many in Taiwan have.

The Berlin-based watchdog acknowledged Friday that the survey results on the extent of bribery in Taiwan were contrary to general perceptions, without elaborating.

Taiwan's representative office in Germany has lodged a protest with TI over the finding and requested a review and modification, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao.

Questions have also been raised about why a Chinese company was used to do a survey on Taiwan in the first place, but TI said it was because it works with WIN/GIA to do the global survey and the latter does not have a partner in Taiwan.

WIN/GIA "contracted their China-based partner CRC to carry out the survey. Particularly for online surveys, this is common practice, and has been done by WIN/GIA for other surveys as well, including the GCB 2010," Heinrich said.

(By Lilian Lin, Angela Tsai and Scully Hsiao)enditem/ls

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