Hanoi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Vietnam, Laos, and China have dropped significantly in a global graft index, which measures perceived corruption, this according to a report by Transparency International.
North Korea, which saw the rise of a third generation of Kims with Kim Jong-un, third son of the late Kim Jong-il, taking over from his father, remained the world's most corrupt nation according to the 2012 ranking.
Vietnam fell to the 123rd position among 176 nations and territories from the 112th a year ago, the Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International said in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index. The group's 2011 report ranked a total of 183 countries and territories.
For perceived levels of public-sector corruption, Vietnam received a score of 31 on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 indicates "highly corrupt" and 100 represents "very clean."
Growing public frustration over the economy has led the government to renew at least on paper its anti-corruption drive against crime and wrongdoings. However, arrests and iron-fisted policies have not solved the problems, as the Transparency International ranking shows.
Laos slipped to 160th position this year from 154th in 2011 and received a score of 21 (out of 100) in 2012, down from 2.2 (out of 10) a year ago, the report said.
Vientiane has moved to step up development, but rights groups have complained about human rights problems, including rampant official corruption and abuses by government officials, as well as the government's policy to grab land from the people.
Mainland China also slipped from the 75th position to 80th, scoring 39 on the corruption scale. It had had scored 3.6 a year ago.
For China's new leader, Xi Jinping, the fight against corruption within the party, at both local and central levels, will be one of the main challenges.
At the bottom of the ranking, North Korea is tied with Somalia and Afghanistan. For Pyongyang, this is a repeat of last year's bottom position when it was first included.
The Communist nation scored 8 out of 100-the lowest of all rated countries-on the 2012 report. It had received 1 out of 10 a year ago.
However, slightly, things have improved in Myanmar raising the nation to 172nd position from 180th last year, Cambodia also saw its ranking rise, from 164th to 157th.