Revealed: emerging trends behind China's anti-corruption drive

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2013, 6:59pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 January, 2013, 10:25am

Since Xi Jinping took the reins as the party chief last year, he has made several pledges to fight corruption in China. Those who don't make the cut, he has stressed, will be purged.

The epic Bo Xilai saga aside, “violations of party discipline” (a fancier name for graft) have so far revolved around many of the same offences, namely embezzlement, bribery, nepotism and abuse of power. 

While 2011 was all about misbehaving fuerdai (rich second generation) political brats crashing sports cars, 2012 was all about officials getting grilled for possessing ridiculous amounts of personal assets such as property, money and recently, expensive watches. Fake hukous seem to be the “it” corruption offence of late. 

Sex scandals are also on the rise, and because of Sina Weibo, they are becoming increasingly humiliating for exposed officials. China blog Danwei billed 2012 the annus horribilis of the “trial by Weibo” of government officials. has been tracking mischief on its Corruption Watch since the 18th party congress ended in November. At least four cases of corruption in the last three months involve sex tapes, sexy mistresses or sexed-up photos.

It should come as no surprise then that the Crisis Management Research Centre at Renmin University found that 95 per cent of allegedly corrupt officials kept mistresses.

The study, which analysed the 24 cases of corruption in 2012 that were exposed on the Chinese internet, found several recurring patterns amongst them. Danwei reported:

  • Twelve out of 24 were over the age of 50.
  • The youngest of the 24 officials was 25 years old, a village official from Sichuan.
  • The oldest of the 24 officials was 63, which turned out to be Bo Xilai.
  • Eight out of 24 officials were accused of crimes involving women.
  • Sixteen of the 24 corrupt officials were implicated on economic crimes.
  • The shortest length of time from exposure to dismissal was 12 hours.
  • The longest time from exposure to dismissal was 40 days.
  • Most of 24 corrupt officials held a rank of party secretary or higher.

The centre's full report was published in the Yanzhao Evening News on Tuesday.