While China has for years had competing lists of the country’s biggest billionaires, Xi Jinping’s high profile anti-corruption campaign now seems to promoting a list of the country’s most elegantly corrupt officials.
The record of bureaucrats brought low by a love of luxury goods has been featured in China’s state-run media in recent days, and officials responsible for real estate deals appear to be leading the pack.
Chongqing Official Boasted of RMB 1M Suit Collection
Making the top of the list was former Chongqing land office official Ding Meng, who turned his right to decide how relocated homeowners were compensated for their property into a wardrobe of more than 100 fashionable suits and 200 pairs of high end shoes.
Upon being arrested by authorities for taking more than RMB 161 million ($26.3 million) in bribes, Ding boasted that all of his suits cost more than RMB 10,000 ($1634) each. The deputy head of the Shapingba land office also sported among his collection of finery a pair of RMB 10,000 Gucci shoes.
Now in jail serving a 13 year prison term for corruption, Ding’s wardrobe is confined to a simple jailhouse orange.
Liaoning Bureaucrat Brought Down by RMB 176k Handbag
Second on the list of high style fallen comrades is another property market regulator, Jiang Runli of Fushun, Liaoning province.
A lifelong public servant, Jiang worked her way up through the ranks of the property and construction departments, variously serving in the City Planning Bureau, City Construction Bureau and Planning Design Institute.
According to court documents, Jiang’s favorite hobby was to go shopping in Shenyang’s New World Shopping Mall, accompanied by female staff from real estate developers. Apparently Jiang’s greatest weakness was handbags, and she accumulated more than 200, including a Louis Vuitton model that cost over RMB 176,000 ($28,800).
Although she became known as the “Queen of LV,” at her trial Jiang was revealed as having enjoyed a broad range of tastes that included housing, cash and education in Singapore for her children.
At her trial, the city official was sentenced to life imprisonment for abusing her powers for construction and planning approvals in return for 80 gifts of real estate, RMB 4.7 billion in cash, and another RMB 2 billion in real estate the provenance of which could not be determined.
The list was published in the Xinmin Weekly at a time when Xi Jinping’s campaign against public officials is being widely publicised. The efforts to track down officials and their ill-gotten loot are also said to be headed overseas, as China has announced a joint effort with Australia to target fugitive officials there.