What Does Lai Xiaomin’s Speedy Execution Mean for China?

February 4, 2021 Updated: February 5, 2021


On Jan. 29, Lai Xiaomin, former chairman of China’s largest asset management firm, was executed in Tianjin city.

Lai, who was head of China Huarong Asset Management Co., was charged with accepting bribes totaling 1.788 billion yuan ($280 million). On Jan. 5, the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate Court sentenced Lai to death for taking bribes, corruption, and bigamy.

On Jan. 29, Lai was executed.

It took only 24 days from the sentence to the execution. The media in China and abroad have made various comments on this. Judging from the cases of previously sacked high-level officials, I think that Lai’s speedy execution will have little impact on the Chinese Communist Party’s corruption problem.

Past Cases

On March 8, 2000, Hu Changqing, former vice governor of Jiangxi Province, was executed. Hu Changqing was accused of taking 5.44 million yuan ($840,000) in bribes, bribing others with 80,000 yuan ($12,382), and owning a total of 1.61 million yuan ($250,000) from unknown sources.

On Jan. 23, 2017, Su Rong, the former Party boss of Jiangxi Province (2007–2013), was sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting bribes of 116 million yuan and owning 80.27 million yuan ($12.42 million) from unknown sources. Su’s entire family was involved in corruption. Su wrote in his statement of confession: “Home is the place for money and power exchange.”

Soon after that, many other high-level officials in Jiangxi were also investigated by the CCP’s internal anti-corruption watchdog, including Li Yihuang, former vice governor of Jiangxi Province (2013–2018); Chen Anzhong, former deputy director of the People’s Congress of Jiangxi Province (2010–2013); and Zhao Zhiyong, former Secretary-General of Jiangxi Provincial Party Committee (2008–2014).

Most recently, on Sept. 21, 2020, Shi Wenqing, former vice governor of Jiangxi, was investigated. The year prior, three Jiangxi business entrepreneurs Zeng Yiping, Wen Hekui, and Wang Yufei publicly reported using their real names that Shi asked for bribes of huge amounts of money, including gold worth 20 million yuan ($3.1 million), and designated an account settlement of 132 million yuan ($20.44 million) in cash.

On Feb. 12, 2004, Wang Huaizhong, former deputy governor of Anhui Province, was executed. Wang Huaizhong was charged with soliciting and accepting bribes of 5.171 million yuan ($800,000), and owning 4.805 million yuan ($740,000) with no explainable legal source.

After Wang was executed, 6 other vice governors of Anhui Province were investigated and prosecuted: He Minxu (death sentence with reprieve), Wang Zhaoyao (death sentence with reprieve), Ni Fake (17 years of imprisonment), Yang Zhenchao (sentenced to life), Chen Shulong (sentenced to life), Zhou Chunyu (sentenced to 20 years in prison).

All were charged for graft-related crimes, such as accepting bribes and insider trading—in sums of up to hundreds of millions of yuan.

On July 19, 2011, Xu Maiyong, former vice mayor of Hangzhou, and Jiang Renjie, the former deputy mayor of Suzhou, were executed.

Xu was called “Xu Three Lots” because he had “a lot of money, a lot of houses, a lot of women.” Xu was charged with soliciting and accepting bribes of more than 145 million yuan ($220,000), embezzling 53.59 million yuan ($8.29 million), and abusing his power to cause losses of 70.71 million yuan ($10.94 million). Jiang was charged with accepting bribes of more than 108 million yuan ($16.7 million), HKD$50,000 ($6,449), and US$4,000.

Corrupt officials have been caught again and again, then executed. Lai stood out in that the amount of bribes he took topped the aforementioned corrupt officials’. “The bribed amount was the largest since the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949,” according to the court judge.

According to my preliminary data, since Chinese leader Xi Jinping initiated his anti-corruption campaign in Jan. 2013—which has felled many of his political enemies—at least 81 corrupt officials with more than 100 million yuan ($15.47 million) have been investigated and punished.

It should be noted that monetary figures mentioned are given by the CCP, and the CCP’s data is determined based on “political needs.” The actual figures may be much higher.

In addition, for four high-level military officials who were sacked—Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, former members of the Politburo and vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission; Zhang Yang, former director of the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission; and Fang Fenghui, former chief of staff of the Joint Staff of the Central Military Commission—their total amount of graft remains unannounced. Why? I believe that the CCP may worry that the soldiers will rebel once it is made publicly known.

Lai’s Prosecution Unlikely to Resolve Problems

According to the CCP’s rules, anyone who commits bribery shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of up to five years or criminal detention and fined; whoever seeks improper benefits through bribery, in which the circumstances are serious or cause major losses to national interests, shall be sentenced to five to 10 years fixed-term imprisonment and fined; if the circumstances are particularly serious or cause particularly serious losses to national interests, they shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of more than 10 years or life imprisonment, and be fined or have their property confiscated.

According to the CCP, Lai’s crimes were: out of his 22 cases of accepting bribes, 3 cases of bribery totaled 200 million yuan, 400 million yuan, and 600 million yuan respectively, and 6 cases of bribery totaled more than 40 million yuan. Who were the 9 “big bosses” who gave Lai such huge amounts of bribes? The CCP has offered no explanation.

The reason why Lai was able to collect such huge assets is because he is the one-man ruler in Huarong. During an anti-corruption TV program that aired on state broadcaster CCTV in January last year, Lai said on camera: “I am the Party secretary, the chairman, and the legal person. The Party secretary of the disciplinary commission is subordinate to my Party committee. How much authority does he have? … He can’t supervise me.”

Wang Pinghua, former chairman of Huarong International, said in the program: “Basically, Lai tells you what to do. Our personal official title, annual assessment, career development in the group, financial support, etc., Lai has the final say with his pen. You could oppose him once, but after the second time or third time, I believe your job will change. There are real examples.”

Li Zhonghua, an official at the CCP’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said that Lai “sees Huarong as his own territory … both internal and external supervision have failed.”

What Lai has done in Huarong is a microcosm of what the CCP has established throughout China—that the Party rules all. The CCP says: “East, west, south, north, central, the party leads in all directions.” As the Party secretary at Huarong, Lai controlled the company from top to bottom.

After Lai was executive, has the theory, system, mechanism, and legal system that underpin the CCP’s rule changed in the slightest? No.

The CCP’s theory, in fact, is still: power worship and money worship, power is everything, and money is everything. The CCP’s system is still: the party is the athlete, coach, and referee. The CCP’s mechanism is still: ruling by suppression, surviving by deception. The CCP’s legal system is still a tool for promotion, fortune, persecution, and deception on top of a pile of waste paper.

Jiang Zemin, the former CCP paramount leader, and Zeng Qinghong, former head of the General Office during Jiang’s reign, led China toward an era of complete darkness, under the corruption and autocracy of communism.

On the one hand, Jiang and Zeng promoted many severely corrupt elements, turning the CCP’s officialdom into a “power-money, power-lust” exchange hub. Meanwhile, Jiang’s son Jiang Mianheng has been allowed to occupy all significant posts in government, business, and education, leading younger generations of the cadres in the Party, government and military to “quietly make a fortune.” To date, the corrupt CCP is in its terminal state, like a cancer.

It can be said that Jiang and Zeng are the behind-the-scenes backers of corruption. And they have not been prosecuted.

When the CCP killed Hu Changqing in 2000, the bribe involved 7.13 million yuan. When the CCP killed Wang Huaizhong in 2004, it was 9.97 million yuan. In 2011, when the CCP killed Xu Maiyong and Jiang Renjie, it was more than 100 million yuan. Today, when the CCP killed Lai Xiaomin, it has reached 1.788 billion yuan.

The corruption is only getting worse under the CCP’s rule and its anti-corruption campaign. The aforementioned cases revealed how corrupt Jiangxi Province and Anhui Province have been. I have also written articles on the corrupt officialdom of Xi Jinping’s hometown, Shaanxi Province. I have also written about the corrupt Inner Mongolia officialdom. In fact, the entire mainland under the CCP’s rule is corrupt. The regime is like a sinking boat. With or without killing Lai, the corruption will ultimately lead to the CCP’s death.

Wang Youqun graduated with a Ph.D. in law from the Renmin University of China. He once worked as a copywriter for Wei Jianxing (1931–2015), a member of the CCP Politburo Standing Committee from 1997 to 2002.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.