A document leaked to The Epoch Times reveals that as of Nov. 26, 2011, Beijing had identified 225 corrupt officials, 58 of them at the local high-level (“ditingji”) and above, who had embezzled over 2.5 billion yuan ($US392 million).
Oversight must have been more lax in Anhui Province, which had half as many corrupt cadres—only 97, 19 of them high-level—who’d managed to abscond with 3 billion yuan.
But the coastal boom province of Guangdong took the cake: 1,640 corrupt officials, 170 of them high-level cadres, who stole a total of 115 billion yuan (US$18 billion).
The numbers come from what appears to be a collection of data, possibly compiled by a state-affiliated research center, that was sent to The Epoch Times on July 12. It came with no explanatory note and was simply identified as “record of corrupt Chinese officials.”
The leaked records include the following lists:
• Senior high-level (zhengtingji) and above officials, including name, last official post held, and year arrested.
• Local high-level officials (ditingji), including name, last post held, amount embezzled, crime charge, and punishment. (In some cases, it simply says “suicide.”)
• Officials who have fled China, including name, particulars, and the amount they stole. This group was relatively small fry. The vast majority of them were from state-owned enterprises. The most ambitious was Gao Shan, the president of the Bank of China branch on Hesong Street in Harbin City, who stole $839 million yuan ($131 million). China Bank has about 70 branches in Harbin and over 11,000 across China.
• Officials who have been repatriated, including their particulars. Thailand was a common destination of escape and therefore of extradition, with the United States and Australia also assisting in a few extraditions.
• Mayors removed from office after being apprehended for corruption.
• Officials who have been sent to prison or given the death sentence (sometimes reprieved).
The information almost certainly does not come from a government office, according to Heng He, an analyst of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politics with the New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television.
Based on the language and phraseology employed in the records, he suggested that the likely provenance was internal material compiled by a Party-affiliated research institute. “The full picture of the corruption is state-secret,” he said.
The Epoch Times checked a random sampling of the cases and found mainland China media reports that corresponded with the names and figures in the leaked documents.
Corruption in China is often referred to as both the lubricant of the Party machine’s economic growth, but also a factor that may precipitate its demise, as ordinary citizens become increasingly incensed with an elite that functions like a kleptocracy, analysts say.
Party media regularly make noise about the threat corruption poses to the regime, but while the problem stems from the regime itself, the Party has never allowed any genuine mechanisms of oversight outside its own control.
The phenomenon of “naked officials”—where a cadre’s wife and family is outside of China—also troubles Party disciplinarians, even though it has to some extent infected the elite. Research by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee found that of the 204 Central Committee members, 91 percent had relatives who had emigrated overseas.
Out of the 127 members of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the body that investigates corrupt officials, 88 percent had relatives who had emigrated overseas.
The data received by The Epoch Times indicated that over 7,101 corrupt officials have fled to the United States, together bringing over 336 billion yuan (US$52.7 billion). The United States thus remains the most-favored destination for fleeing Chinese cadres, but countries with loose immigration regulations like Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma (officially called Myanmar) are popular for lower-level apparatchiks.
In a recent interview with the New York Review of Books, Bao Tong, former director of the CCP’s Office of Political Reform and policy secretary of ousted Party leader Zhao Ziyang, said that getting rid of corruption would be impossible under one-Party rule.
“Because everyone is in one boat, if that boat turns over, everyone ends up in the water, …” he said, referring specifically to Party officials. “So in China, everyone helps each other out. If you are in trouble, I’ll help you out, and if I’m in trouble you help me out.”
“If I were in the current system, I’d be corrupt too. … What they need to do is change the system,” he said.
With research by Luo Ya.
Read the original Chinese article here.
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