THE operations of the Independent Commission Against Corruption have always been cloaked in secrecy. Given the nature of its work, some confidentiality is necessary but there comes a point when the secretiveness becomes obsessive. Such a point appears to have been reached with the decision not to disclose the findings of a research project into problems Hongkong businessmen face operating in China. The study was commissioned in response to the business community's concerns at the difference between anti-bribery measures in Hongkong and China. Yet businessmen are to be denied the benefits of its findings, except indirectly. Only those results the ICAC decides are inoffensive are to be used in the production of an annexe to corruption-prevention and cost-control packages the ICAC is developing for different business sectors. The ICAC's excuse is that some of the findings may be too sensitive for publication. That is a poor justification for suppressing information that could help Hongkong businessmen avoid being cheated or lured, through ignorance, into illegal activities. Some general re-writing of the report to remove the names of companies and individuals and to avoid disclosing investigations in progress would certainly be acceptable. Business people need to learn lessons from the report; they do not need full details.But information should not be held back for fear of offending China. China, after all, has expressed its desire to clamp down on corruption. It should have no objection to a reputable Hongkong anti-corruption agency educating local businessmen in what to avoid. It should also be prepared to accept that systematic officialcorruption be exposed. If widespread corruption is adding to the cost of doing business over the border and drives investors to look elsewhere, China will lose out in the end. Provided the relevant information has been passed on to the mainland authorities well enough in advance to allow them to take corrective action, the ICAC should not hesitate to make its information public. Failure to publish the findings of the study can only lead to speculation that the ICAC is acting under pressure from Beijing and that China has something to hide. It would undermine the credibility of both China and the ICAC if it were to be assumed thefindings were more damning than either side was prepared to disclose.