Which are the Least Corrupt Countries in Asia?

The ‘cleanliness’ of governments is something that makes headlines, sparks protests, and causes the rise and fall of leaders. Now the latest annual index ranks countries according to how corrupt they are, with 0 being very clean and 100 being very corrupt. As a region, Western European countries have been topping the chart yearly, with only one Asian nation in the Top 10 in 2017. Here’s how Asia stacks up.


China ranks 77 in the world, improving by two spots from a year before.

Observers say the results are because of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s unflinching anti-corruption drive.

Over a million of the country’s officials have been disciplined since its launch in 2012, including high-profile ones like China’s third-most powerful politician.

Now, China’s anti-graft agency has been given even greater powers than the Supreme Court, allowing it to investigate, detain, and punish any government worker.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – OCTOBER 04: Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives in Kuala Lumpur High Court on October 4, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Najib’s downfall followed a wave of criminal charges for money laundering in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, which dates back to 2009 and has been described as the largest corruption scandal in Malaysian history.

In the burgeoning IMDB scandal, investigations drew multiple links between a trail of dirty money and Razak.

Now, he’s being probed by Malaysia’s anti-graft agency, as well as other international authorities. Razak on his part, insists it’s all political sabotage.

South Korea

South Korea’s ousted president Park Geun-Hye (C) arrives at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul on August 7, 2017 for her trial over the massive corruption scandal that led to her downfall. AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je

At 51 globally, South Korea’s administration is infamous not so much for preventing corruption, but for punishing the act.

Afterall, it sent four ex-Presidents to jail on corruption charges. Each time, massive public protests happened, observers weighed in, and the world’s media milked the coverage.

For now, Seoul is still unsure how to put a stop to all this, but South Korean President Moon Jae-in believes his anti-graft drive could hold the key.


Japan holds the 20th spot in the world. Well, its government has been praised by other world leaders for being largely, responsible and corruption-free.

That being said, the Japanese leader has come under fire for serious allegations of cronyism. At one point, over 50,000 protestors gathered at parliament, demanding he resign.

But that blew over after Abe apologised in a televised address to the nation. Now, approval ratings of his party have gone back up after another cabinet shake-up, and his firm posture on the Korean Peninsula issue which has gained public support.

Hong Kong

Tied with Australia and Iceland at 77 points, Hong Kong is number 13 worldwide. But the impressive score did not come easy, considering city’s sordid past.

Through the 60s and early 70s, the traids of Hong Kong ruled over the streets, the government and law-enforcement.

But that all changed in 1974, after the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was established by the British.

Historians described the creation of ICAC as ‘one of the best parting gifts from the colonial government, which made the right psychological impact on the general public’.

The ICAC achieved success beyond projections, cleaning up the corruption-rife city-state. Now, a glimpse of that period of Hong Kong only exists in films.


At 86 points, Singapore outranks all Asian nations, and is number 6 worldwide after European countries including Denmark, Norway and Finland.

The fight against corruption began way back when British-colonial masters developed a clean, working system.

Shortly after, Singapore’s first Prime Minster Lee Kuan Yew continued this system, weaving the principle of ‘incorruptibility’ into the developing country’s fabric. Since then, the city-state marched to that drum-beat.

How about your country? How clean is it? Check that here.



Leave a comment
Discovery D/CODE © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.