Learn from selfless Xi, says latest episode of Chinese documentary on corruption

Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures on his arrival at the airport in Goa on Oct 15, 2016.
Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures on his arrival at the airport in Goa on Oct 15, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese officials should take a lesson from the selflessness of President Xi Jinping in not living extravagant lifestyles or separating themselves from the people, Chinese state television said in the latest episode of an anti-corruption documentary.

Mr Xi has waged a sweeping war on deep-seated graft since assuming power almost four years ago, vowing to go after powerful "tigers" as well as lowly "flies", warning the problem is so bad it could affect the Communist Party's grip on power.

In the second episode of the eight-party warts-and-all show "Always on the road", shown late on Tuesday, Mr Xi's simple life and close connection to ordinary people are contrasted with the high living and arrogance of the corrupt.

When Mr Xi visited the southern province of Guangdong in late 2012, shortly after becoming party chief, no red carpets were laid out, no roads shut for his convoy and no luxury vehicles used, the show said.

"He stayed in a simple room, had buffet-style meals. All the details were self-evident of the practices he preaches," it added, calling his actions a "model" for the party's rules against extravagance and corruption.

It also showed the small, unadorned room he stayed in while visiting the northern province of Hebei in 2012. "He ate very simply," it said of the meals he had while there, and showed him interacting with poor farmers in their homes.

In contrast, the programme presented the former party boss of the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, Wan Qingliang, jailed for life last month for corruption, as a model of what not to do.

Wan had a love of banquets, at which he was wined and dined by corporate types looking for a helping hand, and even went so far as to shut off his favourite restaurant in a scenic spot to the public, which has now been reopened, the show said.

"When I was with them, they picked up the bill. Of course there are lots of companies present, and I thought they'd handle it, that it was nothing," Wan told the programme. "I thought this was what everyone did, and I just went with the flow."

The programme interviewed a group of old people at the restaurant Wan was so fond of, who talked approvingly of how they were now able to get back in.

It was not possible to confirm if Wan participated willingly in the programme, or to reach family members or lawyers for comment.

However, the party views contrition and confession favourably, and officials have avoided death sentences if they are judged to have shown remorse or cooperated.