Read the series here: Unbridled Evil
In Jiang’s era, China’s traditional values were undermined. It was a time when long-established family values and views of marriage were attenuated by the rampant immorality. Prostitution became a prosperous industry, whereby the participants felt no shame at all. Promiscuity and sexual liberation gained acceptance as sexual freedom spread everywhere in Chinese society, especially among communist officials.
Survey data indicated that 95 percent of corrupt officials under investigation had a mistress, and that more than 60 percent of corruption cases involved mistresses. More precisely, the official owned a sex partner that received cash, gifts, or other benefits in exchange for the relationship. Chinese people gave it a name: Er Nai, or, literally, “The Second Mrs.” In a case reported in 1999, among the 102 officials implicated from various regions including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai, 100 percent of them had at least one “Second Mrs.”
Quite often, corrupt communist officials took pride in the number of their mistresses and considered owning mistresses as a necessity for their identity. It had become part of bureaucratic culture of “taking pride in owning mistresses and being ashamed of having no mistress.” Officials compete not only for income, power, social status, but also the number of mistresses.
For example, in order to expose the extent of the promiscuous life of the communist officials, some Chinese netizens established a Grand Prix for mistress competition and voted winners in the following nine categories:
- Quantity Award: Xu Qiyao, chief of the Construction Department of Jiangsu Province, has 146 mistresses in total. In his letters sent to his son, he listed taking corruption as the sole purpose of being an official.
- Quality Award: Zhang Zonghai, director of Propaganda of the Chongqing Municipal Party Committee, owned 17 beautiful unmarried female college students who live in five-star hotels year-round.
- Documentation Award: Li Qingshan, chief of the Textile Bureau of Hainan Province, kept 95 sex diaries and collected 236 specimens of female body hair.
- Youth Award: Li Yushu, mayor of the city of Leshan in Sichuan Province, had 20 mistresses ages 16 to 18 years old.
- Management Award: Yang Feng, Party secretary of the city of Xuancheng in Anhui Province, effectively “managed” 77 lovers with his MBA knowledge.
- Spending Award: Deng Baoju, president of a bank in Shenzhen, spent 18.4 million Yuan (U.S. $2.74 million) on his fifth mistress within 800 days, an average of 23,000 yuan (U.S. $3,400) daily.
- Unity Award: Lin Longfei, Party secretary of Zhouning County in Fujian Province, brought all his 22 lovers into a banquet and gave out a 300,000-yuan (U.S. $44,700) pageant award.
- Harmony Award: Deng Shanhong, Urban Management Director of Lingao, Hainan Province, had six mistresses and six children. His own wife had no idea about this.
- Motivation Award: Zeng Guohua, chief of the Communications Bureau of Hunan Province, vowed in front of his five mistresses that before the age of 60, he would have sex with each of them at least three times per week.
Throughout history, officials have been the role models of people. Communist Party officials’ immorality has a direct impact on the whole society. Chinese people’s attitudes toward sex underwent tremendous change. Extramarital affairs, once despised before, are now tolerated. Owning a mistress has become a status symbol. Buying prostitution has become a way of life.
How many prostitutes are there in China now? The official estimate is six million, a figure close to the population of Hong Kong. Private research puts the number as high as 10 million. Data from Ministry of Public Security showed that the number of arrested prostitutes was 6,000 in 1984, 100,000 in 1989, and 450,000 in 1999. Although the number of arrests has skyrocketed, the chances of being caught probably do not exceed 10 percent. Industry and Commerce Bureau data showed that there are about 450,000 registered private entertainment venues (the unregistered number is unknown), where a considerable number of prostitutes work. One shop may hire from a few people to as many as hundreds of prostitutes. Entertainment has become synonymous with prostitution. In addition, a large number of prostitutes can be found in the star-rated hotels to rental places, from roadside shops or downtown streets, to plazas or internet chat rooms.
According to insider sources, many female college students provide sexual services by working in all kinds of escort businesses, consulting firms, and business clubs. A Chongqing escort company did an investigation: the price for four hours is 500 yuan (U.S. $74), for “any service.” A female college student who provides such services earns twenty or thirty thousand yuan monthly. It is estimated that this huge prostitution army generates more than 500-billion-yuan (U.S. $74 billion) worth of revenue, ranking the industry third, behind only the food catering industry and the garment industry. Out of the 500-billion-yuan revenue, about 300 billion yuan comes from government funds. These vast sums constitute an unprecedented era of monetary rewards for prostitution.
Northeast China is among the worst regions of all. Various kinds of “sauna spas” are found in almost every city and village, which provide sex trade in a public or semi-public format. In particular, Dalian has the largest and most explicit sex trade among three provinces in Northeast China. The sex trade and pornographic amusements in Dalian are not only tolerated but also legitimate. Owners of these “spas” often openly recruit men and women pornographic practitioners off the streets or from newspapers, and police won’t get involved even if someone reports it.
The vast monetary rewards of prostitution in Dalian is largely due to Dalian’s former mayor, Bo Xilai, a faithful follower of Jiang Zemin. A Dalian official once said, “Since the end of the last century, Dalian’s erotic entertainment industry has been growing recklessly. The main reason is that Bo Xilai publicly stated, ‘The top priority is to protect foreign enterprises. One can’t just go in and arrest the prostitutes, as it will hurt the motivation of foreign investors. For them, entertainment services that have reached a certain scale, a “leading group to protect key enterprises” is to be established. Anyone who wants to investigate these services ought to report to this “leading group” first and then enter these facilities escorted by the “leading group” officials.’”
Dongguan in Guangdong Province is known as the “sex capital” of China. The sex industry there is highly developed. The city provides a “variety of types of brothels, massage parlors, nightclubs, sauna centers, and karaoke bars,” according to Wikipedia. There are 97 star-rated hotels, including 22 five-star hotels and 25 four-star hotels. Dongguan has become one of the few cities in the world packed with star-rated hotels. How can so many hotels survive in one city? Sexual services account for a large number of them. With the reputation of “Dongguan-style sauna,” many people rush over to partake of this service. Especially on weekends, vehicles from Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and other places can be seen at major hotels and saunas in Dongguan. For a time, Dongguan was touted as a “man’s paradise.”
According to a report from the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post, more than 100,000 prostitutes reside in Dongguan.
In recent years, with the rise and development of the internet, a new form of porn—internet pornography—is blooming. A reporter investigating the contents of several portals found that sexual content can be seen everywhere. Even the government’s official website is filled with pornographic content, which causes incalculable harm to hundreds of millions of internet users in China, especially to a large number of young people.
History has repeatedly shown that widespread sexual depravity foretells a nation’s demise.
Similar to the booming sex industry, gambling in China also quickly made deep inroads. The gambling industry in China has earned the maxim: “Among one billion Chinese people, 900 million of them are gambling!” That is, gambling has spread in the vast land of China like a malignant tumor.
In today’s China, the traditional judgment on gambling has changed. Gambling is no longer viewed as morally wrong behavior. It is no longer looked down upon or rejected, but rather is encouraged and supported. Many gamblers, addicted to gambling, are proud of their gambling and not ashamed.
The widespread practice of gambling in China is almost unfathomable.
The forms of gambling vary greatly. There is open gambling and underground gambling, small-scale gambling and large-scale gambling, domestic gambling and international gambling, and amateur gambling and professional gambling.
People involved in gambling come from all walks of life. From common people to officials, from the poor to the wealthy, from young to the elderly, from individuals to gangs, Chinese society at all levels wants to play.
Gambling establishments are everywhere throughout urban and rural areas. They take many forms: chess rooms, mahjong parlors, office suites, teahouses, wine shops, luxury hotels, roadside booths, and grocery stores. They can range from temporary facilities and residential homes, to professional gaming halls.
The types of gambling are multifarious. Two broad categories apply: traditional gambling and the new emerging gambling. Traditional gambling includes mahjong, poker, dice rolling, horse racing, and dog racing. The new emerging gambling can be roulette, Mark Six, welfare lottery, sports lottery, and slot machines. Online gambling has also become popular in recent years.
Monetary amounts range from hundreds or thousands of yuan to tens of millions. Gambling funding sources are either from public funds or from private money, which may come from illegal means or from savings of many years of hard-earned money. Some are from borrowing; some are from loan sharks.
Ma Xiangdong, the executive vice mayor Shenyang who was ousted due to illegal fund-raising, was found to be addicted to gambling. He flew to Hong Kong and Macau to gamble as many as 17 times in two and a half years. The money he used for gambling was obtained through corruption. Within just three days in July 1999, he lost 100 million yuan (U.S. $14.7 million) of public funds in a Macao casino.
A large number of Chinese people flock to Las Vegas. Every year around New Year’s, a large group of charter flights transport Chinese gamblers from Asia to Las Vegas. While it looks like Chinese are the world’s richest people, however, the truth is that most of the gamblers are corrupt officials or their associates. A local restaurant owner said that a $20,000 New-Year’s dinner was very common for Chinese gamblers in Las Vegas. Abalone costs $2,000 a pound. Bird’s nest soup, a delicacy in Chinese cuisine made from saliva nests by a few species of swift, is worth $1,000 a pound. It’s imported from overseas nonstop.
The luxury Vegas hotels and restaurants are also eager to please their Chinese guests. For example, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino opened in 1993. At the time, it was the largest hotel complex in the world. Guests would enter from the foyer in the shape of the mouth of a giant lion, the symbol of the company. However, because the Chinese gamblers felt uncomfortable walking into the lion’s mouth, considering it “bad luck,” the company happily spent a few million dollars demolishing and renovating the foyer in 1997.
According to an annual statistics report in 2003, the rate of China’s gambling activities and gambling-related crimes keeps rising. The amount of gambling money in 2002 was 800 billion yuan (U.S. $117 billion). According to the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, every year more than 600 billion yuan (U.S. $88 billion) outflow overseas due to various channels of offshore gambling, internet gambling, and underground Mark Six. The amount is equivalent to 15 times the total national welfare lottery and sports lottery issuance in 2003.
Another report from the international gambling site casinocity.com estimated the annual revenue from the Chinese underground gambling market at U.S. $362.5 billion.
China has become a hotbed for gambling, the de facto “Nation of Gamblers.” Pu Songling, a famous Qing Dynasty writer wrote, “Nothing is faster than gambling to bankrupt a family; nothing is worse than gambling to corrupt one’s morality.”
Drug abuse is out of control in today’s China. Pornography, gambling, and drugs are the triple scourges ravaging Chinese society.
The statistics tell the story. Official reports show that the population of drug addicts in China increased year by year, from 70,000 in 1989, to a half million in 1995, to one million in 2002, to 1.5 million at the end of 2010. These numbers are the registered drug addicts. As there are an estimated seven other drug addicts for each registered drug addict, the actual number of drug addicts in China could be as high as nearly 10 million in 2010.
Survey sampling shows that the majority of illicit drug users are young people, with 90 percent under 30 years old. Their average age is between 23 and 25, mostly male. In recent years, the proportion of female addicts has been on the rise. Self-employed and unemployed persons accounted for somewhere between 70 percent and 85 percent. Persons with low education accounted for more than 90 percent. The most-used drugs are heroin, followed by opium. Curiosity is the top cause for someone to begin using illicit drugs.
It is estimated that drug abuse costs more than 20 billion yuan (U.S. $2.9 billion) annually in mainland China. Drug users generally have limited resources, while their addiction and desires are boundless. Drug addicts always try to get the money to satisfy their habits. Thus, numerous crimes stem from drug abuse. A survey from a drug addiction rehabilitation center found that more than 80 percent of the drug users engaged in a variety of criminal activities, including theft, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, bribery, drug trafficking, even homicide. More than 90 percent of the female drug addicts had engaged in prostitution.
The increase of drug abusers encourages more drug smuggling, trafficking, and criminal activity. Rampant smuggling, drug manufacturing, drug trafficking, and criminal activities in turn promote the expansion of the drug consumption market, thus forming a vicious cycle. Drug abuse has caused huge losses in several respects for Chinese society.
Many infectious diseases, such as purulent infection, viral hepatitis, and especially AIDS, are transmitted by illicit drug abuse. Sexual promiscuity and prostitution of female drug addicts has become a major enabler for the spread of AIDS.
For the Chinese people, the flood of pornography, gambling, and illicit drugs has become overwhelming. One of the main causes for the widespread affliction is the moral turpitude of the Chinese people. In a country like China where the moral foundation and faith have been undermined, the incentives for self-restraint are nonexistent, and so people seek only mental stimulation and hedonistic enjoyment without concern for the consequences.
Trust has become a rare virtue in today’s China. The lack of trust is reportedly the second factor after corruption that hinders China’s economic development. It leads to the increased cost of social functioning and the deterioration of personal relationships.
Zhou Xiaozheng, a professor from Renmin University of China, once said in an interview, “The situation of trustworthiness [in China] is not only getting worse, but has become extremely disturbing in some respects. It has become a significant problem.” In February 2011, the Outlook Weekly magazine, under the aegis of the official Xinhua News Agency, conducted an opinion poll in five cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Chengdu. The survey showed that the respondents have a low opinion of the level of trust in the current society in China. Only 4.8 percent of respondents gave a rating of “good,” 48.7 percent respondents replied with “so-so,” and 46.6 percent rated the issue at the level of “poor” or “very poor.” The government is regarded as not trustworthy in the following ways: frequent change of policies, failure to keep promises, black-box operations, government fraud and deception, cheating of officials, etc. Respondents rated the top five distrustful sectors as medical and health care, real estate, beauty industry, service industry, and intermediaries, such as home services, dating/marriage agencies, and employment agencies.
According to a survey conducted by Qiushi magazine between June and July in 2009, interpersonal trust has deteriorated continuously since 1999. The survey showed that real estate bosses are least trustable. Farmers, religious workers, sex workers, soldiers, and students were ranked as the five most honest groups. Nearly 90 percent of the people attributed the reason for the breakdown of trust to the “social environment where people crave quick success and instant benefits.”
While interpersonal and enterprise credibility have been declining, surveys from the early part of the first decade of the century showed that the public was even more concerned about the government’s credibility. Nearly half the population (49 percent) was distrustful with either the government or interpersonal relationships or business enterprises, with 37.8 percent specifically worried about the credibility of what the government tells them. In 2009, the degree of the public’s distrust of the government had increased even more. In a survey with the question, “Do you believe the various social and economic survey data released by the government?” the percentage of people who replied, “much of the information is deceptive and untrue” or “never believe it as it is absolutely false” was 79.3 percent in 2007. This number reached 91.1 percent in 2009, indicating very few are willing to trust what the government says.
The Enemy of Press Freedom
The loss of government credibility is a direct result of the absence of press freedom in China.
On May 3, 2001, World Press Freedom Day, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists issued a report that listed the national leaders who sabotaged freedom of press, calling them “enemies of the press.” Jiang Zemin’s name was among the “10 Worst Offenders.” That was the fifth year in a row that Jiang was on the list.
News media such as newspapers and magazines are called the “Fourth Estate” in the West, as they play a vital role in the oversight of government. The free press—a kind of unofficial fourth branch of government along with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches—is indispensable for it to serve as a fact checker on what the government is saying and doing. In China, these resources are monopolized by the CCP. They have become a tool for the government to spread its propaganda, thereby reversing the role that an independent media serves in the West. Because the CCP controls the media, the people cannot trust anything the “CCP’s mouthpieces” tell them. For the CCP, the checks and balances that we have institutionalized in our laws and the Constitution is an alien and unwelcome concept.
On Oct. 23, 2002, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders published a list of 139 countries graded by freedom of press, in which China and North Korea were ranked 138 and 139, respectively. The report pointed out that no freedom of press or independent media were allowed in the bottom 20 countries. These facts didn’t stop Liu Binjie, former deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication of China, from claiming in 2003 that China was currently one of the countries with the most freedom of speech and publication in the world. Of course, his claim is outlandish and laughable.
The CCP has a policy regarding critical media reports. Critical reports cannot be published unless they are approved by the one who is criticized in the report and his supervisor. Those who are targets of critical reporting are often corrupt officials of local governments. These corrupt officials, like the CCP, are most afraid of being exposed. This policy ensures that the media does not tell the truth.
Due to the lack of independence of the media, it is only allowed to speak for the Party, not for the people. Some media may be occasionally blunt and outspoken. A critical media outlet could face suspension or having its staff dismissed and even arrested.
Established in 1984, Guangzhou-based Southern China Weekly had been the exception for Chinese media for its courage in speaking out for the truth. It had therefore become a thorn in the side for many corrupt officials, and pressure on the publication was tremendous, especially from the Central Propaganda Department. After Jiang’s henchman, Li Changchun, became the secretary of the CCP Committee in Guangdong, he reshuffled the Southern China Weekly. The Department of Propaganda of Guangdong Province issued an order in 2000 to remove Editor-in Chief Jiang Yiping from his position and the majority of the staff members were also replaced.
Silence Those Who Speak the Truth
During the 13 years under Jiang Zemin’s reign, the number of AIDS patients in China jumped from zero to several million. Before 1989, the Chinese regime always denied the existence of any persons with the HIV infection. In 1989, the first AIDS patient in China was identified at Peking Union Medical College Hospital. By 2001, the official total number of HIV-positive persons was 26,058. Among them, 1,111 were patients and 584 had died from AIDS. However, as more evidence surfaced, the Ministry of Health changed its tone and admitted there were 30,000–50,000 AIDS patients caused by blood transfusions alone. Domestic and international medical experts estimated that the real number could have exceeded one million by 2001.
Because Chinese authorities persistently cover up the real situation of AIDS and prevent people from investigating it, the AIDS population has been increasing in China at an alarming rate. In June 2002, UNAIDS (United Nations AIDS Agency) published a report “HIV/AIDS: China’s Titanic Peril” that stated, “A potential HIV/AIDS disaster of unimaginable proportion now lies in wait,” and “All indications point to the brink of explosive HIV/AIDS epidemics if China fails to take effective action [with potentially millions of people infected]”
Henan Province is an area hard-hit by AIDS, with hundreds of AIDS villages. In 2002, a volunteer group from Beijing went to Shangcai County of Henan to investigate and found that the number of AIDS victims surpassed 35,000 in that county. In addition, 3,500 children were orphaned when one or both parents died from AIDS. According to the estimate of the international medical society, AIDS patients in Henan alone exceeded 1.5 million—a sharp contrast to the “less than 2,000” claimed by the Henan government.
While covering up the real number of AIDS patients, the Chinese communist regime suppressed all those who dared to speak the truth. In September 1999, Gui Xi’en, a professor of public health at The First Hospital affiliated with Hubei Medical University, secretly went to Wenlou Village of Shangcai County. He was shocked when he ran blood test for the blood samples he collected from the villagers. When he reported the results to the Henan provincial government, nobody cared to meet with him. When he brought his investigative report to Beijing, Beijing officials sent it to the Henan CCP Committee, which in turn sent an official to tell Professor Gui to stay away from the situation in Henan. The reason was that if the reality of the AIDS epidemic became public knowledge, it could negatively affect the investment environment, and that would make it difficult for Henan farmers to travel to other regions to look for jobs.
Another AIDS activist is professor Gao Yaojie of the University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) of Henan Province. After she retired in 1996 at 69 years old, she dedicated herself to AIDS problems and AIDS orphans. With the effort of Gao and others, the serious problem of AIDS caused by selling tainted blood and plasma in Henan and other regions in China was finally brought to light. Gao became the target of persecution because of her work.
On World AIDS day in 1999, when she planned to accept an interview, the head of the University of TCM of Henan Province told her that she must tell reporters that there is no AIDS in Henan Province, and incriminated her for “working with anti-China forces.” Gao received several phone calls, threatening to “kill you if you continue to make trouble.”
When Dahe Daily, a major newspaper in Henan reported the widespread situation of AIDS, the Department of Propaganda of Henan Province criticized the newspaper harshly. The CCP committee at the Public Health Department of Henan Province held a meeting to discuss the AIDS issue, and reached the conclusion that as long as Gao Yaojie and Gu Xi’en could be silenced, the AIDS problem stemming from tainted blood at the numerous blood stations in Henan, wouldn’t be known. Gao’s youngest daughter also became a victim of these CCP authorities; without any excuse, she was laid off by her employer, a Henan hospital. Officials also prohibited Gao from giving public speeches on AIDS prevention, saying that she has political problems. She was harassed by authorities who did not want the truth to come out about the contaminated plasma that was the main source of AIDS at the time. She emigrated to the United States, and in 2010 Columbia University made her a visiting scholar.
According to Gao, Chinese authorities have always tried to cover up AIDS, not allowing doctors and reporters to expose the true situation. She said in 2016 in an interview with The New York Times, “They hid the truth from the public. They wouldn’t let the victims say it was blood transmission, only homosexual activity or drug use or prostitution. Since the officials suppressed information about the epidemic while cracking down on anyone who tried to report the facts or go to Beijing to file petitions, the epidemic wasn’t contained in time but kept getting worse.”
Moral deterioration in China has reached a point that normal human warmth and concern for others is rendered almost impossible.
Peng Yu, a resident of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, saw an elderly lady, Xu Shoulan, fall down on the ground near a bus station on Nov. 20, 2006. Being kind-hearted, Peng helped Xu stand up and took her to a hospital. However, Xu and her family accused Peng of knocking her down and filed a lawsuit. During the first trial, the local district court ruled that Peng pay medical cost of 40,000 yuan (U.S. $5,890). Under pressure from the public, this case later reached a settlement for a smaller amount, but the court judgment, nonetheless, had a long-lasting impact on the public.
Since Peng’s case, quite a few similar lawsuits occurred in which kind-hearted helpers were sued, casting a chilling effect on the social moral standard. On Dec. 29, 2010, an 80-year-old man fell on the sidewalk in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. Five to six people stood there watching, but no one would help in the slightest. When two women attempted to help, bystanders warned them about cases like that of Peng, and so the two women backed off. Without any help, the old man spent the last few minutes of his life lying on the icy cold road and died.
Trust between people is an essential attribute of all stable societies. Without basic trust, cooperation in building anything becomes at best, fragile, as people always live in fear. Everyone only cares for himself or herself and, as a result, everyone is put at risk. Nowadays, toxic medicines and food made in China have seriously jeopardized the physical and mental health of the Chinese people. The Sanlu milk powder incident in 2008 was a typical example, causing 300,000 children with kidney stones and others kidney damage, according to Wikipedia. Ten years later in 2018, the vaccine scandal was yet another example. The culprits in these cases didn’t care that their actions resulted in some people dying.
With China interconnecting to the world by trade, the world has also lost its trust in China. In the international community, China as a nation has little credibility. The UK- based Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) lists China as the world’s leading producer of counterfeit goods.
A consensus view is that the moral degeneration is a now a common phenomenon in China that has deteriorated since the Jiang Zemin era began. It is becoming a severe social problem that cannot be ignored.
The story of Wang Yue discussed in the introduction of this chapter—the little girl run over by a car and left to die while passersby ignored her—has sparked a heated debate at home and abroad by people and the media.
After the incident, China’s official mouthpiece, CCTV, did not even mention it. A local government official, Li Jianli, even said, “The Wang Yue incident, as well as the abandoned baby incident, do not represent the moral level of the entire city of Foshan. It’s not objective to use the word ‘indifference.’” Li continued, “I think the entire level of morality and civilization in Foshan and across the country is very high, including the degree of government’s proficiency, the attitude of servicing the people.” Another official, Li Jingming, followed, “There are different opinions of the so-called moral decline. Morality cannot be quantified. There is a reference point to be compared to. An individual case like this incident does not have universal significance.”
Shortly afterward, Chinese netizens responded with many similar examples similar to the Wang Yue incident.
In December 2008, in Fuzhou, a girl from Inner Mongolia claimed that she was cheated on by her boyfriend and attempted to commit suicide. When she was walking naked into a river, the crowd that gathered on the bridge were busy taking out phones to videotape the scene instead of reaching out to rescue her. The girl finally agreed to come ashore after being persuaded to by the police. When she got out of the water, a few young men took out their phones again and shouted, “Snapshots, snapshots!”
In November 2010, at Lanxi county of Suihua City, Heilongjiang Province, a baby was abandoned on a street. Within four days, no passersby cared to attend the baby. In the end, the cold of winter took the baby’s life. According to students from a school nearby, the baby was thrown there on the night of November 21. The place where the baby was abandoned is not a remote place, and many people must have walked by. The students said that they reported to the police once seeing the baby. But the police did not arrive until three days later.
In February 2010 in Zhangjiajie, a young man climbed to the top of a seven-story building of a large shopping mall and wanted to jump off the building to kill himself. A crowd of onlookers gathered on the ground floor. Some were laughing, some took out phones to take pictures. According to a witness, the young man changed his posture several times. The scene was breathtaking, but he did not jump down after a few attempts. Some onlookers got impatient:
“If you jump, jump quickly. I have to do my shopping.” “Who wants to jump off the building but stands there and does nothing? It’s really annoying.” “If you don’t jump down, are you standing there to enjoy the view?” Someone even started to bet on whether the man would jump.
The Yanzhao Metropolitan Daily reported that at 4 o’clock in the afternoon of April 18, 2005, in a public bathroom in a downtown street of Hengshui, Hebei Province, a girl was raped by a garbage collector who followed the girl. During the 20 minutes that the girl was being raped, more than 40 people stood by and watched, but no one stepped out and stopped it.
In October 2011, Capital University of Economics and Business, joined by three universities, published the “Survey of Chinese consumers on social trust,” to better understand people’s trust in Chinese society. Only 26 percent of respondents were optimistic regarding the government’s handling of food safety issues; 12.3 percent of respondents believed that the branded restaurants will not use sewage oil; only 8.1 percent of respondents believe that people in society had a high degree of trust. In response to the issue of “would you help if an old man fell down,” up to 26.9 percent of the respondents said it’s hard to say and it depends; 8 percent of the people believed they should not help. When asked about the reason for not helping the fallen old man, 7.2 percent of the respondents replied that it has nothing to do with them and it’s not their business; 87.4 percent of the people said that they can’t help the elderly because they are afraid of getting into trouble.
In another survey conducted by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences in mid-December 2011, 90.2 percent of those questioned believed that people who are honest and trustworthy would suffer losses.
After the CCP took over China, its grounding in atheism and its anti-tradition stance gradually corroded the moral values of the Chinese people. The periodic rounds of anti-humanity political movements emphasized cruelty to the “enemies” of the CCP, so that the people would value life and individual dignity less and less. Especially in the past two decades, amid the pressures of “putting money above everything else” and “keeping one’s mouth shut and making money,” a tacit agreement between the Chinese people and the CCP arose that as long as the people support the CCP, the CCP will allow you to make a fortune, regardless of your ethics, and acquiesce in your pursuit of illicit pleasures. This perverted social contract ensures the moral decline of society.
At the same time, due to the CCP’s disregard for the rule of law, the incentive to act in accordance with laws was greatly shaken and undermined. The CCP has reversed the higher law found in all genuine religions and ethical codes, namely, that people will receive their just deserts. In China under Jiang, the moral order is upside down: good and kind people are despised and often come to harm, while wicked people hold power and thrive.
Since 1999, Jiang Zemin launched a genocidal policy against Falun Gong, a benign meditation practice that teaches people to live in accordance with the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. “Kill them [Falun Gong practitioners] and count it as suicide,” ordered Jiang when he first launched the Falun Gong persecution. That command to China’s security enforcers was approving and abetting the murder of innocent people. It was the equivalent of telling the Chinese people to forsake living in accordance with law. The Communist Party had already decimated traditional values, destroyed religious icons, and promoted campaigns of extreme violence towards others, during The Great Cultural Revolution. Now Jiang, by ordering the annihilation of Falun Gong adherents, took it to another level of baseness and wickedness.
A famous quote from Adolf Hitler goes like this: “There are two things which can unite men: common ideals and common criminality.” For the Chinese Communist Party cadres, common ideals have long gone, and what is left is common criminality. The CCP’s way of economic development and corrupt governance created a phony prosperity at a huge cost of social morality, natural resources, and environmental health and sustainability. Although they enjoy all the benefits and privileges that most Chinese people have no access to, each knows from the bottom of his heart that the CCP cannot maintain the regime for long. With their hands stained with blood after rounds of political campaigns and persecutions of the Chinese people, they have to constantly face their conscience for the crimes they committed. These conscience pangs have led to the instinctive fear and despair for the future among Chinese officials, which is creating a crumbling “Doomsday Mentality.”
The “naked officials” refer to the officials who have had their spouse and/or children emigrate out of the country and transferred their assets overseas. They themselves can still engage in graft and other forms of corruption while holding a public office in China. Families overseas also became an easy conduit for money laundering. Whenever they sense the danger of being caught and investigated, they are well positioned to flee the country and hide abroad. Even if they themselves are caught and punished, their spouses and children can still enjoy their illegal income.
In July 2010, the Chinese Communist Party issued the “Regulations on Leading Cadres Reporting Personal Matters.” Article 3 mentioned that officials should report the change of their marital status and their spouses and children’s country of residence and employment (outside the country).
In December 2014, the organization departments at all levels of the CCP conducted a survey to explore the situation of “naked officials.” More than 3,000 thousand middle-and-above level officials reported their status. Based on the facts collected, the CCP adjusted positions for about 1,000 officials whose spouses or children were unwilling to give up their immigration status.
Not only the relatives of the CCP’s lower-level officials are willing to emigrate overseas, but so are a large number of relatives of the Central Committee members, who are China’s most powerful—some 200 senior CCP leaders.
Hong Kong-based Dongxiang magazine reported that as of March 31, 2012, among the 17th Central Committee, 187 members, 142 alternate members, and 113 members of the Central Disciplinary Committee had immediate family members living or working in a western country or becoming a citizen of the host country.
Xinhua News Agency reported that on May 23, 2012, Chinese Central Commission for Discipline Inspection held the third joint meeting on “The coordination mechanism to prevent illegal officials from fleeing overseas.” The meeting ordered extreme vigilance and alertness against fleeing of officials. The procedures included strengthening management of passports and visas; close watching of officials’ personal overseas trips, and the situation of their spouses and children moving overseas. In order to build up a tight and effective anti-fleeing network, the meeting emphasized the surveillance of officials whose spouses and children were already moved overseas.
According to the statistics of the State Council, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, many of the direct family members of the provincial and ministerial level officials have dual citizenship. The number of dual-citizen relatives of the retired high-ranking officials ranged between 56,000 and 60,000. A 2012 survey showed that between 18,000 and 20,000 people among the immediate relatives of current provincial and ministerial level officials have dual nationality.
In Chinese society, government officials usually play an exemplary role for the ordinary people to follow. In a country where information is tightly controlled and trust is rare, people don’t believe in what the newspapers say, but believe that government officials know more about the true situation. The phenomenon of “naked officials” triggered the exodus of ordinary Chinese who are finding their way to United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and other western countries. Many of them are also in a “Doomsday Mentality,” losing hope for the future of China.
A professor once wrote in a newspaper article, “In today’s China, the ‘abandon ship psychology’ and the ‘end-of-world mentality’ is everywhere. People live their life only for today and ignore what will be tomorrow.”
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