Combating corruption

In China: TV series on graft offenders

The first episode of the TV series shows a villa owned by Zhu Mingguo, who was given a suspended death sentence for corruption.
The first episode of the TV series shows a villa owned by Zhu Mingguo, who was given a suspended death sentence for corruption.SCREENGRAB: CCTV

BEIJING • China's top graft watchdog has begun airing a three-part television series highlighting corruption within its ranks, sending a message that there will be no omissions in President Xi Jinping's war on corruption.

In nightly episodes that started on Tuesday, the series revealed how inspection officials traded on their position of power for expensive gifts, such as pearls, designer watches and gold bars, and cash bribes dating back to the 1990s.

The show, titled To Forge Iron, The Metal Itself Must be Strong, takes its name from a 2012 Xi speech and aims to show there are no blind spots in the Central Commission of Discipline and Inspection (CCDI) investigations, the narrator explained.

At a meeting of high-level party officials in Beijing last October focusing on internal party discipline, Mr Xi stressed the need for the CCDI to "clean its own doorstep".

In the first episode, the narrator quoted commission head Wang Qishan as saying that the CCDI "resolutely guards against there being darkness beneath the light".

Mr Xi has vowed to stamp out deep-seated corruption in the ruling Communist Party, vowing to go after powerful "tigers" as well as lowly "flies".

The "tiger" interviewed in the first episode, Zhu Mingguo, a one-time graft-buster and former Guangdong representative of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said he exploited gaps in the party's oversight system while in power.

Zhu said he received more than 1,000 bottles of expensive alcohol as gifts and had received bribes dating back to the 1990s, stashing the money in his home.

He was quoted by the narrator as warning other corrupt officials against attempting to destroy evidence or flee abroad, saying such tactics will not work and only serve to make their crimes more severe.

Designer watches, pearls and gold bars are among the spoils of other former inspectors featured.

The TV series follows the CCDI's first TV programme, Always On The Road, aired in October that offered the first behind-the-scenes look at China's most dramatic corruption cases.

Since Mr Xi come to power in late 2012, dozens of senior Communist Party members have been jailed for corruption, including the once powerful domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang.

Yesterday, officials said two senior officials in Xinjiang were being investigated for graft.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2017, with the headline 'In China: TV series on graft offenders'. Print Edition | Subscribe