In China, the power of officials belongs to the government, granted by the Chinese people, it is not allowed to exchange money by misusing officials' power and rights that illegally used to make personal benefits by dealing with businessman who have lots of projects to be proven by local government officials.

And such illegal behaviour in Chinese literally translated as 'a deal of power and money', but I need a more English way to phrase it. Please help me, thank you and love you ~~~!

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    "A 'kickback' is a term used to refer to a misappropriation of funds that enriches a person of power or influence who uses the power or influence to make a different individual, organization, or company richer." - that's the answer to the title. translate this from Chinese is a different question.
    – Mazura
    Aug 3, 2023 at 0:21
  • I may say collusion (from wikictionary) => deceitful agreement or secret cooperation between two or more parties to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading or defrauding others of their legal right
    – DDS
    Aug 3, 2023 at 10:39
  • As nouns: bribe, backhander, sweetener, tea money, pay-off; or as verbs: bribe, pay off, buy off, grease the palm of. Interestingly, all verbs have the action come from the person giving the money; the person who is being bribed always seems grammatically passive. I'm not aware of a verb for "doing something in exchange for a bribe"
    – Stef
    Aug 3, 2023 at 14:22
  • @Stef swindle "transitive verb : to take money or property from by fraud or deceit" - Also... Is there a noun meaning: person who accepts bribes? (adjective) : "venal, meaning bribable from the Latin venalis, sale." - W/e you're doing for "something in exchange for a bribe", it's illegal (otherwise it isn't a bribe) and called committing fraud.
    – Mazura
    Aug 4, 2023 at 0:25
  • @Mazura Thank you! "venal" is great. The other words I don't find particularly satisfying; "swindle" most usually mean obtaining money by deceiving someone, which is different; and "fraud" is something else entirely.
    – Stef
    Aug 4, 2023 at 7:34

2 Answers 2


The correct term for this kind of abuse of power in English is corruption. (贪污)

Making "deals of money and power" specifically would be called "power brokering" which may or may not be illegal, "graft" if illegal, "bribery" if a criminal exchange of money or other things of value to an official for political favors or contracts is made, or "embezzlement" if the official illegally takes money directly from the government.

A government in which this behavior is normalized or tolerated and wealth is more important than principles or rule of law is a "plutocracy" (金权政治).

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    There's also cronyism which is tangentially related. Aug 2, 2023 at 18:17
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    Let's add the definition: in the context of government corruption, cronyism means unfairly favoring one's friends or allies by treating them in an advantageous way you would not treat others, and also perhaps expecting that treatment in return. This goes beyond what would be called "connections" (关系) in China, because cronyism breaks expectations or requirements of legally specified equal treatment.
    – BadZen
    Aug 2, 2023 at 18:19
  • 1
    To be a little more specific, "graft" implies that there are some legitimate funds which are being misappropriated, like embezzling or overcharging the taxpayer for a project - the money typically belongs to the taxpayer but winds up in a politician's or private entity's pocket. In contrast, a "bribe" is usually just illegitimate money given to the official that isn't supposed to be for any other purpose, and is often sent from a private entity to the politician (rather than being taken from the taxpayer). Aug 2, 2023 at 18:25
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    Just to add for the OP: "corruption" is a very broad term, encompassing pretty much any illegitimate way in which an official could be influenced to act. Usually, of course it's specifically bribery or embezzlement, because getting rich is a common desire, but a corrupt official could also give advantage to their family, or members of their religious group, or former schoolmates, or a foreign power, anything like that, even without them benefiting financially: that would still be corruption.
    – Dan
    Aug 2, 2023 at 19:10
  • The answer notes that power brokering may or may not be illegal. I want to emphasize how often the term is used for cases where officials A and B have different legitimate (but possibly controversial) policy goals, and A agrees to help B with B's goal in return for getting help with A's own goal. These deals can be very complicated. Aug 2, 2023 at 21:29

This sounds like bribery.

Wordnik defines bribery as

The act or practice of offering, giving, or taking a bribe.

where a bribe is

Money or some other benefit given to a person in power, especially a public official, in an effort to cause the person to take a particular action.

  • If there is no direct link between the action and the payment, but rather an ongoing habit of exchanging ‘favors’ between the official and the businessman, cronyism may be a better word. Aug 2, 2023 at 14:54
  • 1
    Cronies exchange work, not money; that's a kickback or a straight up bribe.
    – Mazura
    Aug 3, 2023 at 0:22

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