TV documentary puts officials’ economic crimes under the spotlight
“The fundamental reason for my corrupt behavior is that I lost faith and disregarded Party principles, I failed to be alert, and I committed a crime.”
Those words were spoken during a 10-episode documentary aired by China Central Television in July. The speaker was Huang Xingguo, a former acting Party chief and mayor of Tianjin, who explained how he acted corruptly.
It was the first time the 62-year-old had faced the cameras since his fall from grace in September last year.
During the program, a number of former high-ranking Party members discussed their corrupt activities to educate members of the public and act as a warning to others who may fall foul of graft.
In addition to Huang, the program featured Zhou Yongkang, the nation’s former security chief, and Bo Xilai, the disgraced former Party chief of Chongqing, a megacity in Southwest China.
Huang described how he was visited in Tianjin by officials from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection — the nation’s top anti-corruption watchdog — in early 2015.
He threw a banquet for them and gave the team director an expensive watch in return for information about Wu Changshun, the former director of Tianjin Public Security Bureau, who was investigated by the CCDI in February 2015 after members of the public claimed he had acted corruptly.
In April last year, less than three months after the first inspection, CCDI officials visited Tianjin for a second time to collect evidence of corruption. During the visit, Huang was investigated for serious violations of Party discipline.
“I thought I would be OK when the first inspection was complete, I hadn’t expected the inspectors would come back a second time, which was a heavy blow,” he said.
“My ideals wavered and I took the wrong direction. I acted out of my personal desire,” he added during the episode.
In September last year, the CCDI launched an investigation into Huang for “serious violations of Party discipline”. According to the CCDI, Huang abused his power to gain benefits for others via the promotion of officials and accepted bribes of cash or property. He also allowed his family members to use his influence to seek private gain.
In July, prosecutors in Hebei province charged Huang with attempted bribery. A court hearing will be held at a later date.
From July 17, CCTV aired one episode of the documentary, Carrying Reform Through to the End, every day for 10 days.
The program also highlighted President Xi Jinping’s key speeches and his thoughts on the governance of China.