Most Chinese see bribes and kickbacks as an indispensable part of doing business in the country, state media on Monday cited a survey as showing.
China is known for its millennium-old business culture centered on guanxi, or connections, the bulk of which are nurtured through underhand deals with agreements being reached via cash-stuffed envelopes, on dinner tables or at the golf course.
About 94 percent of respondents to the survey by Nankai University thought bribery was widespread in business and 77 percent said they would do so themselves, the state-run China Youth Daily said.
Most people think their businesses can barely survive if they don't do so, the newspaper said.
Bribery has been tacitly accepted as a working marketing means and is an effective lubricant between market players and officials.
It is very common for government officials to take bribes in issuing licenses and certificates, and during inspections.
Officials, company workers, and ordinary citizens from different provinces answered the questionnaires, the newspaper added, without saying how many people responded to the survey.
The worst cases of bribery occurred where there was government involvement, it said, with respondents singling out construction projects, land sales, drug and medical procurement and government purchases.
Yet most people said they would not report bribery cases and 60 percent did not believe the ongoing crackdown, started by the central government this year, on commercial bribery would make a real difference, the newspaper said.
Corruption was virtually wiped out in the first decades after the Communist Party came to power in 1949, but it has made a robust comeback since market reforms started in early 1980s.
The government has tried to contain the corruption problem, with mixed results, fearing public anger could result in protests against the Communist Party.
Bribery has become a hidden rule of the market that hampers the economy's healthy development and seriously disrupts normal competition, the newspaper said. It is so rampant that it must be tackled.