Chinese media outlet Xinhua has ramped up coverage on what it calls “anti-decadence momentum” in the nation. A report this week claims that more than 800 officials were “busted” in April for crimes such as throwing lavish weddings and “disobeying workplace rules.”
The report does not specify whether “busted” means that these officials are currently in jail, were fined for their transgressions, or simply lost their jobs. The report notes that there were 719 “breaches” of appropriate behavior this month that included excessive spending on weddings and funerals, use of public cars, or simply spending too much money. The campaign against this sort of “corruption,” the report concludes, have led that behavior to become more private. Officials, according to senior disciplinarian Xu Chuanzhi, are “now feasting in homes and private clubs to avoid being seen and have resorted to covert online financing platforms and digital gift cards.”
This is the third such report in Xinhua this week, as the nation prepares for the May 1 Communist holiday. A report earlier this week notes that 174 cases of “breaches of formalism” were reported between April 21 to 25 alone. The report describes these infractions as bureaucratic, but uses the same language when providing specifics as the report on the April crackdown on decadence: “use of public funds for feasts and private tours, official car use infringement, disobeying workplace rules and holding extravagant wedding ceremonies or funerals.” Another report specifics that seven officials were arrested this week for accepting bribes.
The high number of officials being targets, Xinhua explains, is part of a campaign that the Community Party describes as an attempt to catch both “tigers and flies,” “metaphors for senior and low-ranking corrupt officials.”
China is currently struggling to present itself as a nation devoid of corruption, and its Communist Party members as exceptionally trustworthy political specimens–hence the wall-to-wall coverage of corruption “busting” when a politician throws a wedding or shops online. The harsh reality is that corrupt Chinese politicians are getting much more attention internationally than the great triumphs of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CCDI).
The biggest fish in the CCDI’s net currently is Li Chuncheng, a former vice Party chief of Sichuan, a province in the southwest. Li had previously been mayor of its capital, Chengdu. The CCDI announced yesterday that Li had not only been removed from his position, but fully expelled from the Communist Party for being “morally degenerate,” taking bribes, putting cronies in positions of power, and something described as “superstitious activities.” Li will face a criminal trial for these same infractions, as the agency cannot conduct trials but merely discipline within the admittedly expansive scope of the Communist Party.