China’s Communist Party warns cadres it’s on the corruption warpath

21-Jan-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

China’s top anti-graft watchdog is on a publicity blitz, using a number of high-profile cases to warn cadres not to test the leadership’s resolve on corruption.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s top anti-corruption agency, is scheduled to hold its three-day annual conference from Friday and is expected to use the cases to underscore the leadership’s determination to end corruption.

As part of that campaign, state broadcaster CCTV will also air a four-part TV programme from Thursday documenting 16 cases of “how [we have] enforced discipline and curb corruption… as [we] build China into a modestly prosperous society”, the CCDI said on its website on Tuesday.

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The announcement came a day after the CCDI published a long report of the crimes committed by Lai Xiaomin, former chair of China Huarong Asset Management, one of the country’s four state-asset managers, who was sentenced to death early this month for taking 1.79 billion yuan (US$270 million) in bribes.

The report “Using Lai Xiaomin’s case to encourage rectification” said the commission ordered party bodies of 19 financial institutions to organise “study sessions” with more than 130 senior and middle-ranking managers to “self reflect” by learning from Lai’s case.

It also said that almost 100 Huarong officials were investigated in connection with Lai’s case and 54 who had earned promotion under his reign had since been removed.

The commission also sent inspectors to the three other state-owned asset management companies China Orient Asset Management, China Cinda Asset Management and China Great Wall Asset Management. In the aftermath, the four asset managers closed 56 non-core businesses.

Also in the cross hairs is Qin Guangrong, former party secretary of the southwestern province of Yunnan. Qin was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in jail for taking more than 23 million yuan in bribes.

A TV programme broadcast by the anti-graft agency of Yunnan province last week portrayed Qin as a superstitious person who believed that feng shui would bring him good fortune and promotion to a state leader.

Qin stepped down in 2014 and became a deputy chair of the national legislature’s legal affairs committee. He surrendered in 2019 after his son Qin Ling was investigated in another corruption case.

Liu Changsong, director of Beijing Mugong Law Firm, said Lai’s death sentence was Beijing’s clear warning to officials in key positions, especially those in the financial industry.

“Just imagine, how will the average person, who works day and night to make ends meet, feels when they know Lai Xiaomin gets 1.8 billion yuan by trading power for money,” Liu said.

“People are, of course, angry. If this is allowed, who would be motivated to work honestly?

“China’s top leadership certainly don’t want those in the most lucrative positions to think that they can get away with serious corruption without facing corresponding consequences.”

Liu said the stiff penalty for Lai also indicated that the party leadership was determined to root out the rampant corruption in China’s opaque financial sector, which was the “economic lifeblood of China’s stability”.

“Those who give bribes are not stupid because they only bribe those who are in power and expect good returns,” he said.

“Corrupt officials like Lai are the main reason for instability in China’s financial industry and the death sentence on Lai can be seen as a sign that [the top leaders] want to clean up the industry and restore order.”


Category: China

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