Wang Qishan

Anti-graft tsar Wang Qishan a fan of TV series House of Cards, report says

Corruption fighter Wang Qishan enjoys watching the US political drama, Phoenix Weekly reports

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 December, 2013, 3:07am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 December, 2013, 3:07am

Wang Qishan, China's anti-corruption tsar, is a fan of the American political drama House of Cards, according to the Hong Kong-based magazine Phoenix Weekly.

An article published yesterday quoted an unnamed source as saying that Wang mentioned the drama when meeting cadres from the Communist Party's disciplinary watchdog. The source said Wang highlighted the role of the "party whip" in ensuring party discipline in the legislature.

The drama, adapted from an earlier British one, is about an ambitious House of Representatives majority whip who wants to take revenge on the people who betrayed him in a political intrigue. A whip in US politics usually helps the leader of a party get the support of party members when legislation is proposed.

Wang, who is known as a "firefighter" for his trouble-shooting skills, has been accelerating his efforts to crack down on corruption since he took over the reins of the party's anti-graft body last year.

Over a dozen vice-ministerial level officials have been placed under investigation, including Chen Anzhong, deputy director of the Jiangxi Provincial People's Congress. Chen's case was announced by the central graft watchdog yesterday.

The article said Wang refused to accept mooncake gifts offered by friends during the Mid-Autumn Festival in September. It said Wang and his wife, Yao Mingshan, the daughter of former vice-premier Yao Yilin , preferred to invite friends over for dinner at home to set an example for party officials who were used to spending money on luxury banquets and entertainment. The magazine did not reveal the source of information because the private lives of party elites are normally fiercely guarded.

Wang announced a ban on the use of public funds to buy pastries and associated gifts to combat bribery and extravagant spending. As part of an austerity drive, he ordered in May that all anti-corruption officials in the mainland surrender any private club VIP cards they held.

"Decadent styles have polluted our festival culture in recent years with the sending of increasingly extravagant gifts, such as mooncakes and hairy crabs, drifting further away from our frugal virtues," Wang said in the run-up to the Mid-Autumn Festival this year.

Wang is not the only Chinese leader who is a fan of foreign film and drama. President Xi Jinping said on a visit to the US last year that he could still remember the Hollywood films he watched nearly three decades ago, such as The Godfather.

Premier Li Keqiang said in May when visiting India that he loved the 2009 Bollywood movie 3 Idiots. He said his daughter had recommended it to him.

Former president Hu Jintao has more relaxed taste. He was a big fan of the South Korean TV drama Dae Jang Geum, a soap opera about an orphaned cook who went on to become the first woman physician to serve the king. Korean reporters quoted Hu in 2005 as saying he was too busy to finish watching the series' more than 50 episodes.

Another retired president, Jiang Zemin , gave the 1998 blockbuster Titanic a rare review when meeting NPC deputies from Guangdong.

"Please don't think there is no deeper exchange of ideas in capitalist countries," Jiang said, adding that the film captured the relationship between rich and poor and that he had recommended it be screened in the Zhongnanhai leadership compound.