Caixin
Jul 26, 2017 07:40 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

New TV Series Lifts Lid on Corrupt Leaders

(Beijing) — Five senior Communist Party officials caught in the anti-graft net appeared on state TV to reflect on their misdeeds or crimes in the latest installment of a documentary airing on major TV networks across the country.

The 10-episode documentary, entitled “Carrying on the Reform to the End,” was co-produced by the Publicity Department of the party’s main decision making body, the central committee, and showcases the party’s efforts to keep its rank and file from being lured into corruption.

The documentary premiered on China Central Television and all satellite channels on regional TV networks throughout the country on July 17, just months ahead the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party slated for late October or early November. This key meeting will set China’s political agenda for the next five years.

In the latest episode of the dramatic documentary, which aired Tuesday, five former senior party officials, including former Liaoning party chief Wang Min, went on camera to reflect on their downfalls. It’s unclear whether the officials agreed to go on camera to get a more lenient sentence.

Wang, former party secretary of the rust belt province in the country’s northeast, went on trial on July 21 in Luoyang, central China’s Henan province. He was accused of embezzling and taking bribes worth 146 million yuan ($21.57 million).

He was also charged with dereliction of duty linked to a vote-rigging scandal in Liaoning, where over 80% of the provincial legislature was found to have paid bribes to get elected, including 45 members chosen to represent the province at the national legislature.

“I take primary and direct responsibility for the vote-buying incident in Liaoning and the deterioration of the province’s political ecosystem,” Wang, 67, said on camera. “As a result, I should express remorse to the central party authority, the cadres and the people in Liaoning.”

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the party’s anti-graft agency, started investigating Wang in March 2016 and referred his case to the state prosecutor’s office for criminal investigation in August 2016.

No verdict was announced during the one-day trial at the Luoyang Intermediate People’s Court.

Wang is among some 30 tigers, or senior officials, who have fallen since Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping launched the anti-graft campaign in late 2012.

Another tiger, Qiu He, a former deputy party secretary in the southwestern province of Yunnan, was also featured in the documentary, where he gave a brief account of his misdeeds. “Starting with small and cheap presents, I began to accept big and expensive gifts later. I’m a person with flaws who slid into the abyss of crime,” he said. “Gradually I became a person different from who I used to be, and I have nobody else but myself to blame.”

In March 2015, Qiu, 60, was taken into custody by the anti-graft watchdog over gross violations of party discipline, a euphemism for corruption. He was sentenced to 14 1/2 years in prison for taking bribes worth 24.34 million yuan in December.

Huang Xingguo, the former mayor and acting party secretary of the northern port city of Tianjin from 2015-2016, thought he could get away with his wrongdoings — just he had had when CCDI inspectors visited the city late in 2014 and early 2015.

The graft busters returned for a second time in early 2016, and two months later, Huang was put under investigation for alleged corruption.

“The tactic of doing a follow-up inspection really worked well. My problem was that I began to do my own calculations as it served my personal interests after my ideals and beliefs were shaken,” he said. “But the fundamental problem at the core of the issue is that I no longer affiliated myself with the party (in terms of its code of conduct) and dropped my guard bit by bit until I ended up where I’m now.”

Prosecutors in Shijiazhuang charged him with bribery earlier this month, though his trial is still pending.

During the first round of inspections in Tianjin in late 2014 and 2015, Huang offered gifts in attempts to bribe CCDI inspectors in the hope of finding out what led the downfall of Wu Changshun, Tianjin’s police chief.

Wu admitted on camera “to have led a double life by only displaying the sunny side of his character in public.”

“But when I wasn’t in public, I’ve done many things to violate the law and the party’s disciplinary code because I thought I’d be lucky enough to get away with it,” Wu said.

Anti-corruption officials, who detained Wu in July 2014, said the official was involved in all sorts of misdeeds that were already known to the public.

Late in May, he was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for bribery and embezzlement involving more than 530 million yuan.

Han Xiancong, a former deputy chairman of the provincial government advisory body in Anhui, also went on camera offering an account of his problems.

“I was invited to numerous banquets in the second half of 2013 and 2014 before my downfall,” he said. “Most of the time I did not think it was a big deal and I thought I could get away with it.”

In November, Han, 61, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for abuse of power and bribery involving more than 23 million yuan by a court in Nanping, a city in the eastern province of Fujian.

Contact reporter Li Rongde (rongdeli@caixin.com)

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