Bribery and kickbacks are rife in society and a continuing official crackdown on commercial bribery is unlikely to be effective, according to most respondents to a mainland survey on corruption. Nankai University and the Central Party School in Beijing polled 143 people in April, including dozens of officials studying at the school, businesspeople and members of the public. It was found that more than 94 per cent believed bribes and kickbacks were common social phenomena. More than 60 per cent of the respondents were not confident that an ongoing crackdown on commercial bribery would succeed. About 88 per cent said government officials often took bribes to issue licences or certificates. Less than 10 per cent of the businesspeople said they would survive if they did not bribe their clients or law enforcement staff. Nearly 80 per cent said they would give kickbacks, bribes or presents if necessary. The survey participants suggested that bribery was a particularly serious problem in government- and public-welfare-related sectors, especially in infrastructure, land leasing, state assets exchange, pharmaceuticals and government procurement. Beijing launched an intensified crackdown on commercial bribery this year and, according to Xinhua, Premier Wen Jiabao said commercial bribery had become prevalent and was closely tied with officials' abuse of power for financial gain. International law professor and survey organiser Cheng Baoku, from Nankai University in Tianjin , said bribery was tacitly accepted as a way of doing business and was an effective lubricant between market players and government officials. 'Bribery has become a hidden rule of the market that hampers the economy's healthy development and seriously disrupts normal competition,' Professor Cheng said. He said the bribery crackdown this year had resulted in some progress but more improvements needed to be made in legislation, law enforcement and reporting. 'Currently there are many loopholes in laws against bribery. Different courts in different regions make quite different judgments because they abide by different criteria,' Professor Cheng said. 'China also has a poor record in protecting and encouraging whistle-blowers.'