In 2000, a former deputy chairman of the National people’s Congress was executed for taking bribes. At the time, this was the highest communist official to be put to death since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.
ABC News reported, Cheng Kejie (67), the former vice chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, was convicted of taking $5 million in bribes, and executed after the Supreme People’s Court approved his death sentence on Sept. 7, 2000. Cheng’s lover, Li Ping (in her 40s), was sentenced to life in prison. Li escaped the death penalty by cooperating with investigators, giving them details of Cheng’s crimes and helping to recover the booty.
Since economic reforms began in 1978, political corruption in China has grown significantly. The types of offenses vary, though usually, they involve trading bribes for political favors, such as local businesses trying to secure large government contracts or subordinates seeking promotions for higher office.
The South China Morning Post reports, “President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign was launched in 2012 targeting party, government, military, and state-owned company officials suspected of corruption. The campaign has led to the investigation and prosecution of hundreds of officials across the country.”
In fact, “Xi Jinping’s anti-graft drive has caught so many officials that Beijing’s elite prison is running out of cells. Overcrowding has prompted Qincheng prison – where former high-ranking officials are jailed – to pull the plug on Lunar New Year visits, source says.”
And XinhuaNet.com says, “Besides the crackdown on “tigers” and “flies,” the anti-graft watchdog has been busy hunting corrupt officials hiding out abroad.
“By the end of December, 3,866 fugitives had found themselves hunted down and captured from more than 90 countries, with more than 9.6 billion yuan (1.48 billion U.S. dollars) recovered by police, according to the CCDI.”
Brookings Institution China scholar Cheng Li, in an article entitled “Debunking Misconceptions about Xi Jinping’s Anti-corruption Campaign”, asserted that attributing ulterior motives to the campaign was not only wholly misleading but also unproductive. Li believes that not only has Xi’s campaign had the effect of truly curbing corrupt practices at all levels of government, it has also restored public confidence in the Communist Party’s mandate to rule, and has also returned massive ill-gotten gains back into state coffers which could be re-directed towards economic development.”
But corruption in China’s government is nothing new. Stratfor.com tells us, “Too often, the dynastic cycle began with the central power’s vigorous gains over the vast country’s far-flung regions under the Mandate of Heaven (the belief in an emperor’s divine right to rule), which led to decades or centuries of unity and prosperity. Then, bureaucratic corruption began eroding the imperial court, manifesting in the slow and steady accumulation of power in the regions. … An unwillingness or inability to reform, the massiveness and uncontrollability of the country and various other factors — both internal and external — led to dynastic decline.”
It is obvious that Xi Jinping does not want history to repeat and end up with another government decline and collapse, at least while he is alive and in charge.
I think Donald Trump, if he is convicted of treason and corruption in the United States, should be relieved he is in a country where his replacement will probably pardon him and he won’t spend a day in prison or face execution.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.
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