China Corruption Watch: Mayor of Nanjing Jailed for 15 Years

April 7, 2015 Updated: April 7, 2015

Ji Jianye, formerly the mayor of the Chinese city of Nanjing, was sentenced to 15 years in jail by a court Tuesday, making him the latest high-ranking official to be imprisoned in Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Party rectification campaign.

The Nanjing mayor, a confidant to former regime leader and Party godfather Jiang Zemin, was arrested in October 2013 on charges of “severe violations of disciplines and laws”—official speak for mass bribery and improper sexual relationships—and expelled from the Party in January 2014.

On April 7 the Yantai City Middle People’s Court in Shandong Province found him guilty of taking bribes worth tens of millions of yuan between 1999 and 2013.

Nanjing is the capital city of Jiangsu, a highly industrialized province on China’s eastern coast—there, Ji was known as “the bulldozer” for his aggressive campaign of evictions and demolitions to make way for new developments during his term as mayor in 2010.

Bribery and Debauchery

The Yantai court said during the sentencing that assets seized from Ji were valued at 11.3 million yuan ($1.9 million). This includes 320,000 yuan (about $55,000) in cash, four debit cards worth 20,000 yuan, and 540,600 yuan sunk in a housing renovation, complete with an air-conditioning system, according to state-run news website China News.

Among the bribes Ji accepted from an unknown party was the famous painting “Propitious Snow,” by the artist Yu Jigao. The piece is one of a series of depicting birds bracing themselves against a snowstorm. The piece has a market value of 30,000 yuan (about $4,800).

Ji also had a taste for mistresses, whom he would then place in top management positions at companies and government departments he had sway over. One mistress was promoted from a typist to a deputy director in the National Development and Reform Commission, while another was given a position on the management committee of Shouxi Lake, according to Hong Kong-based pro-Beijing newspaper Wenweipo.

Godfather Connection

Ji’s rise through the Party apparatus can be attributed to his close relationship to former Party boss Jiang Zemin, who served as general secretary until 2002. Ji Jianye was made the deputy mayor of Yangzhou, Jiang’s hometown, in 2001; later he became the mayor, and then the Party secretary of the city—the most powerful position.

But Jiang Zemin’s allies have been falling—literally—in quick succession over the last two years.

On April 3, the Chinese regime charged former security chief Zhou Yongkang with bribery, abuse of power, and disclosing state secrets. Zhou headed the Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC), which controls all aspects of the regime’s feared security apparatus, from 2007 to 2012, making him the most powerful official to be taken down in the current campaign.
Another security boss to be punished recently is Jiang Zunyu (no relation to Jiang Zemin), who controlled the political–legal apparatus in the southern city of Shenzhen. On April 7 Jiang was placed under shuanggui, the Party’s internal disciplinary and interrogation process, an official notice said.

Yet another leading cadre in the security apparatus, Jiang Hongliang, appeared to take matters into his own hands before investigators could get to him: On March 31, he committed suicide by leaping from a 354-foot-tall pagoda in Longbeishan Mountain National Forest Park in Jiangsu Province.

Jiang Hongliang was the security chief of Wuxi City, where he had a reputation for persecuting practitioners of Falun Gong, a meditation practice, which Jiang Zemin vowed to “eradicate” in 1999. He, along with the other named officials, was listed by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, a nonprofit organization, as a known persecutor.

According to Minghui, a Falun Gong website that documents the Party’s persecution, Wuxi’s political police have kidnapped at least 18 Falun Gong practitioners, ransacked their homes, and sent them to detention centers for brainwashing and torture.