• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:48am
NewsChina
CORRUPTION

Mainland industries bribing their way to quality-control certification: Xinhua

Undercover probe reveals rampant practice by mainland companies of paying kickbacks to obtain stamp of approval for products

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 1:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 2:34am

An undercover investigation by state media has found that many industries bribe officials to obtain quality-control certification.

The practice of officially certifying a company's products as meeting quality standards had been compromised by industries resorting to bribery, Xinhua reported, comparing the bogus ISO9000 certificates to "beauty marks".

In one case, a Beijing-based machinery firm obtained the national quality-control certification in less than a month - the process usually lasts at least nine months - with the help of an agent.

The firm, in which a Xinhua reporter worked undercover for several months, paid "certification consultancy" Dongfang Xinzhan 6,500 yuan (HK$8,190) for its service.

The agent from Dongfang Xinzhan, which claims to have connections with a government-authorised certification company, said the minimum cost for such certification according to regulations was 12,000 yuan.

On the agent's advice, the company gave cash gifts to the two examiners sent by the certification company, who completed their assessment in a day and a half, instead of the usual three days.

The certification consultancy gave the machinery firm two training classes on quality control for garments - an industry completely unrelated to the firm's products.

It also told the firm to lie to the quality-control examiners that many of its technicians had taken leave, to cover up the firm's real number of staff that was fewer than standards required.

ISO certification could be acquired "as long as you give money", an agent from another consultancy was quoted as saying.

This corrupt practice was rampant also within the toy manufacturing and farm-produce sectors, Xinhua said.

"Usually, two people from the Certification Centre of the Light Industry Council would come to check up [on our standards]. We usually give each of them a cash gift of 1,000 to 1,200 yuan," a manager of a Shantou toy factory was quoted as saying.

"This has been an unwritten rule for years. Without the money, you can expect some 'small obstacles'."

One Shanghai-based consultant guaranteed organic-food certification for his clients.

"I am familiar with all the examiners at the certification authority that we cooperate with. We will try to help you pass [the assessment]," he said. "All you need to do is give them a good reception."

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the top department overseeing certification, did not respond to an interview request by the South China Morning Post.

Edward Guo, formerly responsible for applying for certification at a major pesticide manufacturer in Zhejiang , told the Post that ISO certification was easy to obtain as long as one was willing to spend the money.

"Some certification companies would directly ask applicants for a price," he said, adding that, in his experience, no government supervisor had ever investigated or intervened.

 

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11

This article is now closed to comments

horacejeffry
What's new? And more over what came first ? The chicken or the egg? Did the auditing company not let you pass unless you paid money or are the companies not capable to reach the standard and resort to bribing? My experience with third party auditors/qc is that nothing passes unless there is some tea money. Whether it is for an audit or a normal quality control check on goods This include most major inspection companies and the staff of a major trading firm in Hong Kong where everybody seems to be on the take. And hey if you do not pay you can't ship and let me assure you that many of these inspectors are from Hong Kong
Beaker
Why is this under news? Now, if the crack down on corruption is real and not just an excuse for an old fashioned (and necessary) purge, then why isn't such a well known risk to the public addressed by executing the corrupt "agents" and those at the QC certification labs? Obviously, the crack down is not real.
mrlcooper
You've answered your own question really. The crackdown on corruption isn't real and clearly the people who run this process are on the 'right' side so are likely to get away with it, even now.
ejmciii
Confirming yet again that anyone buying Chinese goods risks his health and safety. These criminals have made their mo clear. Buy at your risk. I would think anyone selling Chinese products in another nation knowing of this travesty has opened himself to strict liability. Take notice those who but from these criminals. **** them down.
chaz_hen
This is SHOCKING and unbelievable!! How could this possibly be??
TigerJ
Chaz the HenMan - shocked... yet again... by a routine piece of Mainland news.
superdx
Did it hurt the feelings of the Chinese people?
TigerJ
Superdx - the Chinese knew about all this already... It is rather your fragile feeling that needs some intensive care.
Stop reading about China if you don't have the stomach for it. Go back to kindergarden.
ejmciii
Can you really be this moronic? Stop reading about China when they seek to infect every part of our lives? Stop reading because we might find out what is really going on it that toilet? Unbelievable. Enjoy some poisoned milk powder and put yourself out of our misery.
syn
I am in his kindergarten class and we were assigned to read about China and comment about it online.

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