Anti-corruption has become the main agenda for the Chinese Communist Party since its 18th National Congress. The newly elected CCP Chief Secretary Xi Jinping warned [zh] all the CCP members in his first Central Committee meeting that if the corruption problem continues it will bring about the end of the CCP and subsequently the end of the People's Republic of China.
There are two possible readings of Xi's statement: that the CCP is really serious about anti-corruption work, or that the corruption problem is so serious that it cannot be tolerated anymore. Corruption has spread to all levels of CCP members and penetrated their daily lives despite past efforts to fight corruption. The purity of CCP members is becoming a joke.
Blogger Zhu Zhenqiang（祝振強）pointed out that anti-corruption work in China has been caught between the “fighting the tigers” or “catching the flies” debate, which explains [zh] why “anti-corruption has brought about more corruption”, despite the fact that there are several successful “tiger cases”:
[With the above mentioned successful cases], we can't say that we have been successful in “fighting the tigers” or that the anti-corruption work has been targeting “all tigers”. In fact, whether it is “fighting the tigers” or “catching the flies”, the anti-corruption work has been highly selective and calculative. It is neither proactive nor comprehensive; it is more like an unavoidable ill fate. This is something worth looking into.
While the CCP chief secretary's anti-corruption talk still lingered in our ears, an obscene sex tape of former Chongqin CCP Secretary of the Beipei District Lei Zhengfu (雷政富) was leaked and went viral online. The video shows a young girl engaging in sexual acts with a 50-something male. At first Zhengfu denied it, but within 63 hours he was under investigation and proclaimed a “former” CCP secretary.
More details of the tape have surfaced. It was shot five years ago, and the sex acts involved were part of a deal between Zhengfu and a construction company. The incident was related to a former Chongqin leader who ordered the heroic figure Wang Lijun to arrest the young woman seen on the tape and the head of the construction company. That's why blogger Yao Xiaoyuan （二爺姚小遠） believes [zh] that the tape being leaked when it did is no coincidence:
Most of the new government officials and leaders have been presented on stage. According to our ancient tradition, we need some sort of sacrifice in times of abrupt change. Lei's sex videotape can be regarded as a ritual. When the wind comes before the rain, and China is facing a storm. Just hope that the storm will wash away the dirt rather than purge against dissents.
Zhengfu's dismissal, which happened within 63 hours and is a normal procedure in the circumstances, has broken the record of any previous scandal. Scholar Guo Yenyuan (郭賢源) felt worried [zh]:
Lei Zhengfu is the CCP's secretary; he is also a government official appointed without an election. We have to ask if such a government official has ever been endorsed by the people? If so, when a problem appears, it calls for the issue to be handled. If not, where does his power come from? [...]
When power is without public monitoring, corruption is inevitable.
There are also some discussions about the privacy problems involved. He Qinglian's (何清漣) article [zh] refers to the U.S. tradition of dealing with the privacy of public figures, while Hu Caiming (胡賽萌) discussed corruption problems from a gender perspective:
Women's bodies have become another resource, such as land, that can be sold and rented out and exchanged. Those who are in power can manipulate economic resources, natural resources or even women's bodies, a new resource in this emerging market. That's why the bureaucrats are so frequently caught in sex scandals.
Very soon after CCP Secretary Zhengfu had stepped down, another scandal broke out online. It was revealed [zh] that Chou Weisi (周偉思), the head of a village committee in Shenzhen Long Gang district, is in possession of RMB 2 billion (approx. GBP 2 million) in assets and is now under investigation. The Internet has become a platform where scandals that involve expensive cigarettes, sex affairs, and luxurious properties owned by the CCP secretary are exposed, while the CCP disciplinary committee is lagging behind in their duty to fight corruption.
Ironically, Lei Zhengfu once made the following anti-corruption speech [zh]:
[Leaders and officials] should establish the correct attitude towards power, position and interest. For those who commit to politics, morality comes first. Be an upright man before you become an official. Develop self-discipline before you discipline others. Respect yourself and be reflective. Behave yourself and work with others. Be prudent and cautious in taking any action. Bear in mind, if you have embedded interest, that you must be sure that your decision is in alignment with the law and your conscience. Build your moral baseline to guard against the temptation to be corrupt.
If we don't have an effective mechanism to fight corruption, similar situations will be occur again and again.
You are welcome to visit my1510.cn [zh] for further related discussions.
This post was proofread in English by Georgi McCarthy.