Pub­lic gets look at the heart of graft

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YAN in Bei­jing zhangyan@chi­

After read­ing about nu­mer­ous of­fi­cials ac­cused of bribery and other forms of cor­rup­tion, the pub­lic is fi­nally hear­ing from some of the dis­graced of­fi­cials them­selves.

An eight-part doc­u­men­tary be­ing aired on na­tional tele­vi­sion pro­vides a first full look in­side their sto­ries, in­clud­ing tear­ful ex­pres­sions of re­gret and even sur­prise at their own ac­tions, which brought them a posh life at the pub­lic’s ex­pense.

At the same time, anti-cor­rup­tion of­fi­cials see it as a chance to show­case their work over the past four years, and as a cau­tion­ary tale for pub­lic ser­vants. It also comes right be­fore a high-level meet­ing ex­pected to de­velop stricter rules for CPC mem­bers.

“I never ex­pected I would have such an end­ing,” Zhou Ben­shun, 63, for­mer top Party of­fi­cial of He­bei prov­ince, tells the cam­era. “I was brought up in a poor fam­ily. ... I hated cor­rupt of­fi­cials since I was young, but I be­came one in the end.” He was placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Oc­to­ber.

Juicy de­tails also are com­ing to light, such as bribes in the form of “gifts”, like a jade bracelet worth 15 mil­lion yuan ($2.2 mil­lion) given to Bai En­pei, 70, a for­mer top of­fi­cial in Yun­nan prov­ince, in ex­change for a piece of land.

The se­ries is be­ing aired shortly be­fore the Sixth Ple­nary Ses­sion of the Com­mu­nist Party of China’s 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee.

The meet­ing, to be held Monday through Oct 27, is ex­pected to pro­pose tougher rules for Party mem­bers in the form of two draft dis­ci­plinary doc­u­ments — for pro­fes­sional and per­sonal con­duct — to be sub­mit­ted for dis­cus­sion and ap­proval.

The se­ries, pro­duced by the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion and the na­tional tele­vi­sion sys­tem CCTV, en­ti­tled Cor­rup­tion Fight Is Al­ways Un­der­way, be­gan air­ing nightly on Monday at 8 pm on CCTV-1. It fea­tures the cases of about 10 for­mer pro­vin­cial or min­is­te­rial-level of­fi­cials and one for­mer State leader, Su Rong, for­mer vice-chair­man of China’s top po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sory body. The in­ter­views were done while the for­mer of­fi­cials were de­tained but be­fore any con­vic­tions. The cases of dis­graced of­fi­cials who held higher po­si­tions, from

for­mer State se­cu­rity chief Zhou Yongkang to for­mer Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion of­fi­cers Guo Box­iong and Xu Cai­hou, are dis­cussed, though they are not in­ter­viewed.

Air­ing the se­ries be­fore a key na­tional po­lit­i­cal meet­ing is “a good op­por­tu­nity to tell good anti-graft sto­ries and pro­mote build­ing a clean and hon­est govern­ment,” said Hong Daode, a law pro­fes­sor at China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Science and Law.

Yang Wei­dong, a law­pro­fes­sor at the Chi­nese Academy of Gov­er­nance, a school for train­ing se­nior of­fi­cials, said, “After watch­ing the cor­rupt of­fi­cials’ sto­ries, of­fi­cials and CPC mem­bers will ex­change their views on the lessons they will have to learn, and to reg­u­late their own be­hav­ior ac­cord­ing to the newrules.”

The se­ries’ pro­duc­tion team vis­ited 22 prov­inces and re­gions to gather in­for­ma­tion on more than 10 for­mer top of­fi­cials linked to more than 40 cor­rup­tion changes.

They also in­ter­viewed 70 ex­perts from home and abroad as well as anti-graft of­fi­cers to ex­plain the cases and how they were han­dled.

In the first episode, aired on Monday night, viewers heard from Bai, Zhou, and Li Chuncheng, for­mer deputy Party chief of Sichuan prov­ince.

In the sec­ond episode, screened on Tues­day, Wan Qingliang, for­mer Party chief of Guangzhou, cap­i­tal of Guang­dong, and Gu Chunli, for­mer vice-gov­er­nor of Jilin prov­ince, told their sto­ries.

Bai, Li and Wan have been con­victed, while Zhou and Gu await trial.

The se­ries has had a big im­pact.

“After watch­ing the TV se­ries, we know how se­ri­ous and com­plex the graft is­sues are, and (that) it’s nec­es­sary for the govern­ment to carry out a con­tin­u­ous and per­sis­tent cam­paign to tar­get cor­rup­tion,” said Li Wei, an anti­graft of­fi­cer in Liaon­ing prov­ince.

Zhang Li, a teacher at Bei­jing No 11Mid­dle School, said, “It’s be­ing shown to re­flect the cen­tral lead­er­ship’s res­o­lute de­ter­mi­na­tion and the mea­sures taken to fight cor­rup­tion, which will leave no place for the cor­rupt suspects to hide and es­cape.”

Since Novem­ber 2012, when the new lead­er­ship took of­fice, anti-cor­rup­tion has be­come a top pri­or­ity, and Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has launched a sweep­ing cam­paign to tar­get both high- and low-rank­ing of­fi­cials. Over 140 se­nior cor­rupt of­fi­cials have been in­ves­ti­gated over graft is­sues, ac­cord­ing to the CCDI.

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