Throughout Chinese history, the Qinling mountain range in China was referred to as “the dragon vein.”
Xi’an city, the ancient capital of at least 11 Chinese dynasties, is nestled among the mountains—a geological feature that divided China into its northern and southern regions. Qinling was considered a sacred site with connections to the rulers of the Chinese empire.
In modern times, local officials have illegally built luxury villas near the mountains and profited from them.
Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, he has launched an overarching anti-corruption campaign to rid the Chinese Communist Party of his political rivals. Since 2014, Xi targeted corrupt officials involved in the Qinling villas and sought to demolish the structures.
Among them is the former Party boss for the northwestern province of Shaanxi, Zhao Zhengyong, who received a two-year suspended death sentence for graft. Zhao was known to have close ties to former Party paramount leader Jiang Zemin. A faction loyal to Jiang is opposed to Xi’s leadership.
But an internal government document about the Qinling “anti-graft” project revealed that demolition work has continually stalled, and that some villas were still in operation.
China commentators analyzed that this indicates Xi is not yet successful in ridding the Party of disloyal officials and getting his subordinates to fall in line.
The Epoch Times recently obtained from a trusted source a government internal report issued in early 2018 by the Xi’an city municipal Communist Party committee, Qinling office.
According to the document, a team within the Party’s internal anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), launched an inspection on the Qinling villas between Aug. 9 and Oct. 13 of 2017.
The report mentioned that the CCDI identified two separate illegal resorts that were said to be “reformed” but actually continued operating. The Qinling office also noted that 7,404 “problems” were discovered.
The report, which is over 20,000 words long, only devotes about 2,300 words to describing the illegal construction. The rest is about ideological requirements to toe the Party line.
For instance, the Qinling office arranged Party members to “read the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” referring to a once-in-five-years conclave when the next succession of Party leaders is determined. During the 19th congress held in 2017, Xi’s power was solidified as the congress decided to remove term limits for the Party chairman from the Chinese constitution.
The document also noted that officials were asked to “persistently handwrite the original text of the report of the 19th National Congress and the newly revised Party constitution.”
China commentator Li Linyi analyzed that this indicates anti-corruption work at the Qinling office was mostly superficial and did not make concrete changes.
He also pointed out that Chinese state media reported about the demolition of 1,185 Qinling villas in August 2018, when the CCDI was again dispatched to the area for an anti-corruption investigation.
Since the internal report was issued in early 2018, that means local officials did not put into action any demolition work at the time.
But ironically, the Qinling office said in the document that it “achieved good results” in its anti-corruption work.
According to a Jan. 2019 report by China’s state broadcaster CCTV, Xi gave orders to demolish the Qinling villas back in 2014. After six instructions over the course of five years, authorities finally destroyed 1,185 villas and seized another nine.