TV doc­u­men­tary puts of­fi­cials’ eco­nomic crimes un­der the spot­light

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YAN

“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.

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