China’s anti-corruption campaign has been going on for over two years now, ensnaring both “tigers” and flies.” But the details of its latest tiger catch, a top general, are truly arresting. The Financial Times:
When investigators searched the Beijing home of Xu Caihou, one of China’s highest-ranking army generals, they found so much cash and precious gems they needed a week to count it all and 12 trucks to haul it away.The cash was neatly stacked in boxes, each with the name of the soldier who had paid the bribe in exchange for promotion up the chain of command. Many of the boxes, each containing millions of renminbi, had never been opened, said people familiar with the case.
Talk about a paper tiger!This isn’t the only recent case in China’s ongoing purge that includes eye-popping details. Reuters reported last week:
China’s anti-graft watchdog has discovered 37 kg (82 lbs) of gold, documents for 68 houses and 120 million yuan ($19.6 million) in cash in the home of a Communist Party official who is being investigated for corruption, state media said.The amount seized in the home of Ma Chaoqun, the former manager of the Beidaihe Water Supply Corporation, was so large that state news agency Xinhua called it “shocking”.The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Hebei has accused Ma of bribery, embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, according to the Beijing News newspaper.
These cases of wretchedly excessive corruption play into Xi’s public narrative about the purge, because the Chinese people know how corrupt their government is, and do want to see it cleaned up. But this purge is designed to thin out the ranks of the powerful so that Xi has greater control over a leaner political machine. As flashy as these tigers are, and as amusing to read about, it is Xi’s rebalancing of power at the top that is the larger story.