Meet China’s Top Graft Buster Wang Qishan: His Mighty Probe is Probing Thousands

wang-quishan

A broad assault on corruption in China is being led by Wang Qishan, a member of China’s Politburo Standing Committee and President Xi Jinping’s right-hand man.

NANCHANG, China—When Wang Qishan, China’s top graft-buster, dispatched a dozen investigators to this south China river town last summer, his message was clear: The investigators should inspire “shock and awe” among local officials, according to an account posted on a government website.

Former party official Su Rong is being investigated for suspicion of violating party rules and state laws. European Pressphoto Agency

Former party official Su Rong is being investigated for suspicion of violating party rules and state laws. European Pressphoto Agency

Anti-Corruption Drive Headed by a Heavy-Handed Communist Party Loyalist

Mr. Wang’s inspectors told local media they had settled in at a government-owned hotel. Within days, hundreds of residents lined up to give evidence about what they viewed as wrongdoing by corrupt local officials. Complaints also flooded in via the Internet, according to officials with knowledge of the matter.

Penalties in Major Cases
Penalties in Major Cases

“The leadership realizes that if they don’t stop massive corruption, the regime will collapse.”

— Huang Jing, a China specialist at National University of Singapore

Yang Peng, a restaurateur, says he told investigators he was jailed and tortured because of his association with an enemy of an important local mandarin who was accused of rigging the sale of a steel mill in exchange for kickbacks. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Netizens Love the New Season of ‘House of Cards’ — Even Though it Makes Their Country Look Terrible

Fair use/Sina Weibo

Fair use/Sina Weibo

David Wertime and Han Chen  report:  “Everyone in China who works on this level pays who they need to pay.” Mild spoiler alert: These are the words of the fictitious Xander Feng, an influential Chinese billionaire on the Netflix series House of Cards, a show that follows the machinations of U.S. Representative (and later Vice President) Frank Underwood to agglomerate power and crush whoever stands in his way. The phrase is also now viral on the Chinese Internet, which has proven surprisingly hospitable to the show’s second season, which debuted on Feb. 14. Despite having its arguably Sinophobic moments — in addition to Feng-as-villain, the show depicts a Stateside Chinese businessman hiring both male and female sex workers, and a U.S. casino laundering Chinese money to fund a Congressional SuperPAC — the show has Chinese social media users applauding what they believe is a largely accurate depiction of Chinese palace politics.

The attraction of House of Cards’ second season — which has already received over 9 million views in the first weekend compared to over 24 million for the first season, released March 2013 in China — appears two-fold. First and foremost, the show engages Communist Party corruption, elite infighting, and the often-outsized influence of the moneyed class with a directness that few domestic shows dare hazard. The colorul Feng, for example, alludes to scheming with members of the Chinese government to force a more liberal financial policy, not to mention bribing high officials outright. The result is a portrait of Chinese elite skullduggery convincing enough that one user wondered aloud in jest whether the show’s screenwriters had planted an undercover agent in party ranks.

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Mmmm China vending machine sells delicious large hairy crabs

(Photo: Michelle Yun)

(Photo: Michelle Yun)

BEIJING – There’s not a lot you can’t get out of a vending machine. Add large, hairy crabs to that list.

A Chinese entrepreneur on Wednesday opened up a vending machine that dispenses the chilled delicacy like a candy bar. The crabs, prized for their sweetness, always turn up in markets around China’s mid-autumn festival, a popular harvest celebration in east Asia. Read the rest of this entry »