This Interactive Graphic Reveals China's Massive Anti-Corruption Campaign

Tyler Durden's picture

Since taking office in 2013, Xi Jinping has been on a mission to root out corruption among the ranks of the Communist Party.

Xi, whose efforts have affected both high-ranking officials and those lower on the totem pole, is keen on re-establishing party discipline. Policies handed down from on high often lose their teeth while filtering down through the sprawling party ranks. As The Atlantic put it last year, Xi wants to correct that by “reforming [China’s] very political culture.”

The problem is “made more urgent by a slowing economy,” an economy which desperately needs to be reformed. “Reform, however, requires the ability to enact policy,” The Atlantic flatly adds. “That in turn necessitates bureaucrats who follow the central government’s orders.”

Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has ensnared scores of officials from the prominent (the “tigers”) to the obscure (the “flies”), and as Foreign Policy wrote on Thursday, “the CCDI [just] released a communiqué promising to maintain ‘unabated forces and unchanging rhythm’ in pursuing the goal of a China where, as Xi put it, officials are ‘unable and unwilling to engage in corruption.’”

Some 1,500 officials have seen their cases publicly announced. All 1,500 are represented in the following excellent interactive graphic from ChinaFile called “Catching Tigers and Flies.”

We can only hope ChinaFile will create a similar tool for Beijing’s sweeping effort to arrest short sellers and market “manipulators.”

Some facts about the graphic

  • Of the 1,460 felled, the vast majority are officials at the local and provincial level. Officials can be sorted among the fields of mining, petroleum, law and law enforcement, media, military, real estate, and rail. But there are also sizeable groups in the fields of higher education (78) and public security (36, including former oil czar and head of internal security Zhou Yongkang and the recently sentenced vice-minister for security Li Dongsheng). One hundred seventy-five of those in the database worked for state-owned enterprises.

  • Like Chinese officialdom itself, the database skews heavily male, with only 69 women in total. Just three women, in a pool of 146, are so-called tigers, those whose rank is above or equivalent to that of deputy provincial or deputy ministerial level officials.

  • According to data provided by ChinaFile but not yet searchable in the tool above, penalties are harsh, particularly given that most violations are economic (albeit egregious). Two hundred thirty-two individuals have been sentenced under criminal law; of those, 198 have been condemned to at least ten years’ imprisonment. Fifty of those have been sentenced for life (or handed a suspended death sentence, which generally becomes a life sentence), and eight are slated for execution.

  • To date, the sentenced individuals in the database, just 232 people, are collectively responsible for having embezzled, stolen, or taken as gifts nearly $1 billion. Figures are pulled from sentencing documents, often easily accessible in official media or on Chinese court websites.

  • Sentencing documents often include other lurid details. Yang Yueguo, a relatively minor official in the southern province of Yunnan, purchased $30,000 worth of jade jewelry using public funds. Quan Xiaohui, a municipal official in the central province of Henan, kept three mistresses. And Yan Yongxi, who once presided over Beijing’s rural Mentougou district, tried to hide his embezzled funds in his mistress’ gardening company. In all, the database includes some 67 individuals for whom adultery was listed as an element of their discipline violations.

  • Geographically, the cases are spread throughout China; but certain provinces, including Guangdong, Henan, and Shanxi — the stronghold of former president Hu Jintao’s former top aide, Ling Jihua — have seen the highest number targeted, second only Beijing. Fujian and Zhejiang, both provinces Xi once led, appear to have been dealt a lighter hand.

  • So far in 2016, the CCDI has announced 17 new investigations, including probes into several local officials, the head of the “clean and honest governance” unit of the prominent Fosun group, whose billionaire chairman was recently detained for questioning, and a deputy director of the Beijing office in charge of Taiwan affairs, whose investigation was announced just days after Taiwan elected a new President whose party favors greater independence from the mainland

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Blythes Master's picture

Mere flies in the ointment.

wee-weed up's picture

One man's corruption...

Is another man's patriotism.

Seems to me the ChiCom elites are just doing...

Some "opposition" house-cleaning.

Yonathan Zwift's picture

We used to call this practice "A Purge".

I wonder - shouldn't we accept a similar mechanism to root out all the Flies attracted to all of Washington's Tigers?  It might be fun to watch all the "Green Energy", Union and other Mob Bosses spend a little time in Guantanamo (as Terrorists of the State) ...

After a show trial, of course.  I'll make the popcorn.


LetThemEatRand's picture

China is a case study in what America is becoming.  The guys who run things have enormous wealth and essentially are bound by no rules, but God forbid that some mid-level guy take a bribe. 

monk27's picture

No chance in hell for America to become China. For one thing, we have no manufacturing left and no commercial surplus. We are way behind China... and we'll stay there !

MSimon's picture

About 18% of the US economy is manufacturing. Fifty years ago it used to be 20%.

silverer's picture

But consider these things:

In 1950, the United States was #1 in GDP per capita.

In 2012, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

In 1950, about 13 million Americans had manufacturing jobs.

In 2012, less than 12 million Americans have manufacturing jobs even though our population has more than doubled since 1950.

In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.

In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.

In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.

In 2012, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.

And when the government is done triple adjusting the data, we will have 2015 numbers to consider.

silverer's picture

I disagree.  I think you will soon see legions of corrupted bartenders and waitresses. LMAO! 

Father Thyme's picture
Father Thyme (not verified) Jan 22, 2016 7:51 PM

If only the Republican/Democrat ruling party in the US would discipline its ruling class half as much as the Commies discipline their ruling class. Makes ya wonder.

The USA is a lawless country. By that I do not mean what conservative Republicans mean, which is, if I understand them, that racial minorities violate law with something close to impunity. What I mean is that only the mega-banks and the One Percent have legal protection, and that is because these people control the government. For everyone else law is a weapon in the hands of the government to be used against the American people.

The Rule Of Law No Longer Exists In Western Civilization

Paul Craig Roberts, January 5, 2016

chairman mao's picture

i doubt you have any idea how corrupt the chinese officialdom is sir.

official corruption is happening on an industrial level in china, in the states it is on a retail level, or maybe wholesale in certain parts.

western politicians typically engage in corruption to benefit their financial supporters, so to stay in power, the chinese do it all for themselves, its ugly.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

i doubt you have any idea how corrupt the chinese officialdom is sir.

Actually, I'm well aware of it. I see it every day. Why do you think I wrote that? The problem is, until roughly 2007-8, commie corruption was relatively contained to China proper. Since then it's metastasized to an international behemoth that will threaten the entire world as we know it. It's obvious no one anywhere is asking where all the untold hundreds of billions are coming from that are being doled out for property and stocks around the world. I'm convinced the commies bought the Canadian national election are pumping money directly into the Hillary campaign.

You don't need to explain to me the insidious effect on global affairs a well-connected privately funded existing political organization with the discipline of a criminal mafia will have. Trust me. I get it.

Marco's picture

Hillary Clinton's personal assistant comes straight from the Muslim Brotherhood which wants to spread shariah around the world. When AIPAC says jump all the old codgers in the US congress try and fail, AIPAC being a mere extension of a state hell bent on destabilizing the middle east and taking and ethnic cleansing as much of their promised land as they can.

Yet I'm supposed to be afraid of a couple of Chinese billionaires who just want to make money and live in the US/Canada?

Marco's picture

Ugly? The US/EU where billions of dollars hang in the balance of a pittance of support for some committee member's family, or the unspoken promise of a job is much more perverse.

The quid pro quo in the west is ultimately just as destructive as their more blatant corruption. Hell, the west doesn't even call it quid pro quo any more, it's just "honest" lobbying. They rationalize everything they do as something natural and beneficial to the system, they don't even acknowledge their abuse to themselves any more. That is ugly.

83_vf_1100_c's picture

"Quan Xiaohui ... kept three mistresses."


What a waste of yuan. Chinese women all look alike to me so one should be plenty. /s

chairman mao's picture

3 pairs of tits are always better than 1 sir

Dragon HAwk's picture

Someone once said that the problem in China was you had to Bribe Both Sides.. and not let either side know you were bribing the other one..

Yen Cross's picture

 The Chinks must have my IP. My webcam led/light on my laptop fired-up out of nowhere.  Too bad I taped the lense years ago. lol

 Fucking NSA " Trump haters" and NORK Hi Jackers.

  And Phoney Star.


Fred123's picture

This campaign can be called many things such as, consolidation of power or payback time. But rooting out corruption is not one of them.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

The Chinese Communist Party currently comprises approximately 87+ million members. Roughly 6% of the population. The commies occupy all the choke points in Chinese society. All government institutions and offices, district offices, mayoral offices, province heads, courts, government agencies and departments, universities, key industries and state sponsored enterprices, and most critically, the entire military apparatus. You can't go anywhere in China or become anyone in China without joining the commies. This article is talking about the anti-corruption drive in broad terms, describing the effort as "sweeping," and referring to 1500 known cases against allegedly corrupt commie members. So... 87,700,00+ members... if even 1% of the members were to be prosecuted, that would amount to roughly 870,000 prosecutions. The US alone has roughly 2 million people in prison, the residue of a 40+ year long "war on crime" and all sorts of other criminal prosecutions. Imagine the US bringing 870K criminal cases at once--nearly half the number of US inmates produced from 40 years of "crime fighting," that would be the equivalent of the Chinese going after just 1% of corrupt commie officials. As it is... these figures mention 1500 cases... that's barely 0.002%.

Pardon my ire, but considering the depth and scope of corruption in China and the extent of the party apparatus' reach, referring to 1500 prosecutions out of 87.7 million potential targets is nigh laughable. You read some of those charges? You really think in China these morons ensnared in this "corruption drive" are the only ones getting away with this shit? The Chinese middle class is approximately 300 million persons. It's actually conceivable that the overwhelming majority of people in China who can call themselves middle class are overwhelmingly commies, their family members, and their cronies. In sum... China's revolutionarily disruptive entrance onto the global capitalist stage has overwhelmingly benefitted almost no one but the commies. Because they run the apparatus that runs the other 1,220,000,000 billion slaves. Sure, the average subsistance farmer who used to earn 700 yuan a year has seen his earnings rise to 10,000 yuan a year, but then... compared to the TRILLIONS the top commie party cadre have been able to accumulate as a result of leveraging this vast sea of slave labor against a printing press defies belief.

Xi is shaking the tree. It looks more like the pruning of some bad apples than any really serious and concerted effort to rid China of corruption. Maybe he's settling scores. Maybe he's consolidating his position. Maybe some showmanship, some good old bread and circuses for the masses. Maybe a bit of all the above. Call it what you will, but don't call it an anti-corruption drive. Please.


Wild E Coyote's picture

My country may consist of 1 billion people. But I only have 2 hands. With the apparatus in my hand i can only handle so many cases. If I urgently create an apparatus with sweeping powers, it only creates further opportunity corruption.

Chinese leaders are indeed just doing the good old ways of showmanship as you suggested. It hopefully will create the fear of punishment of law if not the fear of God. 

Communism by the way has nothing to do with it. I would say, the commies are at least putting up a better show than the Democrats in USA.

SmittyinLA's picture

"root out corruption among the ranks of the Communist Party"


I know a few Chinese factory owners, never actually met a true believer, I'll let ya know when I do.

chairman mao's picture

I'm a true believer :)

This shit is real sir.

I live in Australia now but my whole family's in China. 

My grandpa served under Deng Xiao Ping during the communist revolution and my whole family are communist members and held government positions(tho at the provincial level only).

legal reform is happening in earnest, we are seeing many cases of citizens sueing the government now, previously unheard of. many cases of ridiculous miscarriage of justice are being correccted. the most obvious change in chinese society since Xi came to power is media are finding it easier and easier to criticise government abuses (not policy). you can also see discussions of democracy and the neccessity of separation of powers on chinese media from time to time. 

The previous president Hu Jintao was a puppet of the president before him (Jiang Ze Ming). All those tigers were Jiang's cronies.

Contrary to mainstream western media reporting, Xi is far from "the most powerful leader since Mao", his only ally in the 7 member standing politburo is the anti-corruption chief Wang Qi Shan. The prime minister is neutral, the other 4 are marginalized and wants him to fail. 

Now Xi has control of the police and military, his position is somewhat secure. He is still fighting for control of the media, the spy agencies, and the financial sector(the bastion of Jiang's power), if the economy hits the wall there is still high chance he'll be kicked out of office.  last year's stock market crash was widely believed to be plotted by Jiang and his boys in the financial sector and SOEs, thus the arrests. powerful people in china is working actively to crash the chinese economy so they can remove him.

Xi is a reformer just like his dad(held position of deputy prime minister), who opposed the Tiananmen sqaure massacre and was removed from office.

I hope he fares better than his dad? nothing is guaranteed though.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

I'm a true believer :)

This shit is real sir.

I live in Australia now but my whole family's in China. 

My grandpa served under Deng Xiao Ping during the communist revolution and my whole family are communist members and held government positions(tho at the provincial level only).

I rest my case.

Sudden Debt's picture

The money is going and the damage is done.

Better go to the top and jail those who acted to late.

SoDamnMad's picture

Here is what I dream about. Envision the end of the 1st half of the Super Bowl. On to the field race a team of grounds keepers who unrolls a 20 foot wide strip of canvas (with sponsors names and logos) on the 50 yd line and then 20 hooded individuals are escorted out to the canvas at the center of the field.  The loudspeaker booms the following: "Ladies and gentlemen, prior to the half-time entertainment we bring you the punishment of 20 members of Wall Street who YOU have selected by on-line voting.  First, representing the firm of Barclays and having been found guilty of fixing the Libor rates 2005 through 2012 is ...

The individual kneels and a giant of a man, (looks line a linebacker)  ahooded executioner trots behind him and takes a few warmup swings before taking aim and a whacking off the mans head (cheers from a quarter of the inebriated fans, groans from their wives).  The 20 individuals (we don't exclude women as distinuised by their clothing) are "offed" the same way.  A team of cleanup crew rushes out and puts the body parts into black body bags and then slings them on to electric carts while a second team rolls up the canvas.

"And now ladies and gentlemen that this is completed, we continue with our half-time entertainment"

A "Where's Jon Corsine?" chant starts at one end of the field but dies out after the surge to the rest rooms reduces the chanters.

Quebecguy's picture

Shoot them for economic crimes and send the bill for the entire box of bullets to their families. Oh, they already do that? Looks like they have a bright future.