A former police chief in Xinyang City, in China’s central Henan Province, used a detailed price list to determine how much in bribes that officials should pay him in order to gain a promotion.
Li Changgen “sold” official ranks in the local police system to at least 30 people, according to a court verdict that was recently leaked online, the contents of which were reported by many Chinese media, including the Law Court Evening News, a state-run newspaper.
Although Li was sacked in 2014 and sentenced to prison in 2016, the details weren’t exposed until this recent media leak.
Li had served as the head of the Xinyang police department, head of the discipline inspection team at the Henan Higher People’s Court, and other security posts between 2006 and 2014.
In November 2014, the Henan branch of the Commission for Discipline Inspection—the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog—announced an investigation of Li. On April 14, 2016, Li was sentenced by the Luohe City Intermediate Court to 10 years in prison for graft crimes. He died in prison on Oct. 20, 2016.
The court verdict that was recently posted online listed 31 identified acts of extorting or accepting bribes, all payments to Li in order to secure promotions or official titles. Li had labeled specific prices for each title. For example, the price for appointing someone to head of a county-level police department was 310,000 yuan ($45,427); the price for political commissar (a role whereby one supervises political education for cadres) was 100,000 yuan ($14,654); while becoming head of a local traffic brigade cost 330,000 yuan ($48,358).
For instance, between 2007 and 2012, Li extorted and accepted bribes from a person surnamed Yang, who not only paid 330,000 yuan ($48,355) in cash bribes, but also 200,000 yuan ($29,308) worth of gift cards; 200,000 yuan ($29,308) worth of Cordyceps sinensis, a precious Chinese medicinal herb; and 80,000 yuan ($11,722) worth of antique paintings. In return, Li promoted Yang from a county police chief within the jurisdiction of Xinyang City to the city’s deputy police chief and head of the city’s traffic police brigade, according to the verdict.
It’s worth mentioning that being traffic policeman is a lucrative profession in China; traffic police often pocket a portion of the traffic violation fines they charge.
An insider working in the government of Guangshan County in Xinyang told Chinese state-run media China Newsweek on May 8 that some of the officials, after obtaining official ranks by bribing Li, replicated Li’s practice of “selling” job positions for money.
“They spent money ‘purchasing’ an official title, so they definitely wanted to get the money back by ‘selling’ the titles within the scope they can manipulate. It then became a chain reaction in the entire public security system [in the Xinyang area],” he said. The insider also provided to China Newsweek a copy of a price list used for bribing Guangshan County officials working in the police system.
According to public information and the court verdict, as of May 13, three of the 12 Party committee members in the Xinyang police department have bribed Li to get their current jobs.
After Li was convicted, those who offered bribes were all subjected to different degrees of disciplinary action, China Newsweek reported, citing a local Xinyang official. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to reveal more details, saying it was considered classified information.