Documentary reaffirms resolve to fight corruption

Updated 2016-10-22 10:04:54 China Daily
Criminal justice: Felons convicted of serious corruption would be prohibited from seeking shorter sentences, under a third reading of the draft amendment to the Criminal Law. The amendment aims to safeguard judicial fairness. China Daily

Criminal justice: Felons convicted of serious corruption would be prohibited from seeking shorter sentences, under a third reading of the draft amendment to the Criminal Law. The amendment aims to "safeguard judicial fairness". China Daily

A China Central Television documentary series, The Corruption Fight is Always Underway, has been popular viewing these days.

The title has derived from Party leader Xi Jinping's remark, "Anti-graft efforts are always underway", meaning they are continuous. The documentary has gained 37.9 million views on domestic video website, among the highest viewing figures over the past several days.

It is rare for such a documentary to enjoy such popularity nowadays. Compared with other popular programs, it features neither pop stars nor dramatic plots; its major characters are the officials in prison or disciplined for corruption, who share their stories with the audience.

Yet that's the uniqueness of the documentary: Supported by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's top anti-graft watchdog, it presents exclusive interviews with the senior corrupt officials that have been netted in the anti-graft campaign. It is these exclusive interviews that have gained the documentary its nationwide popularity.

Some details of the cases of those interviewed have thus been made public for the first time. For example, Zhou Benshun, former Party chief of North China's Hebei province who was charged with corruption in October, led a luxurious life, dwelling in an extremely spacious mansion and having two housemaids and two chefs at the cost of about a million yuan (8,390) in two years.

These details have made people aware of the importance of fighting corruption. People now understand how much damage corrupt officials can do to the economy, as well as how hard the disciplinary commissions at various levels work to fight corruption.

By doing so, the documentary has also successfully curbed some rumors. Whenever a senior official is found corrupt, there is speculation about how much money has been grabbed and whether the official concerned tried to resist the investigation. A court trial only makes the crimes public, it does not answer all the questions people have. Rumors often emerge in this way, as people are curious to know more.

With the corrupt officials telling their own stories in the documentary, people know from the words of the corrupt officials themselves their wrongdoings as well as how they received their deserved penalty.

The documentary has also been praised by viewers. One of the main reasons is it shows the firm determination of the central leadership to root out corruption despite the difficulties. Whatever position an official holds, he or she is a citizen before the law and will be punished if found abusing power.

Another highlight of the documentary is it grants people an opportunity to observe senior corrupt officials for themselves.

Most of the officials in the documentary held provincial or higher posts; when they confess how they failed to control their own greediness and finally fell to temptation, that is a good lesson to all junior officials nationwide, as well as ordinary people.

From their confessions, people gain a deeper knowledge about the necessity of improving the system for supervising power.

The documentary comes at a special time, on Monday. One week after the first episode was broadcast, the Sixth Plenary Meeting of the 18th CPC Central Committee will be held in Beijing. It reaffirms that the central leadership will fight corruption to the end.

The Chinese text of this story was originally published in The Mirror, a Shenzhen-based newspaper, on Thursday.

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