Flies are more harmful than tigers
But as one professor and Chinese history expert said: “His job is very easy. China is traditionally ridden with corruption, and you can find a flaw in anyone if you investigate.” He may be exaggerating, but he is an expert after all. A few reported cases reminded me of Professor K’s comment.
Thirty-three apartment keys were found in a briefcase obtained from Wu Zhizhong, a former legal official of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. He owned apartments across China as well as in Canada. He had set up a Buddhist shrine in his house, where 2,000 pieces of jewelry, luxury goods and antiques were confiscated. The total amount was equivalent to the sum of 300 years worth of his salary.
In 2009, Hou Zuchang, who had several marks on his criminal record, was elected the chief of a village in Hubei Province. He had threatened residents and snatched ballots to put his name on them. Soon, he became public enemy No. 1. He not only appropriated the budget allocated from higher agencies but also forced the locals to buy firecrackers on holidays so he could take their profits. Selling and buying of livestock had to go through him, and he even forced the locals to purchase decomposed maize. He used violence on those who didn’t follow his orders.
People reported his violence and coercion, but the police were on his side. One young man couldn’t stand it anymore and murdered him. And the entire village started a campaign and submitted a petition to save him.
It was like having a robber as village chief. In “Chronicle of a Blood Merchant,” renowned writer Yu Hua wrote that the corrupt local officials were no different from robbers.
As President Xi proclaimed the anticorruption drive, he said that both tigers and flies will be cracked down upon. When it comes to corruption, the flies are more harmful to Chinese people than the tigers. You can avoid rotten food, but the flies will keep buzzing around.
*The author is a Beijing correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.
BY YEH YOUNG-JUNE
JoongAng Ilbo, July 19, Page 30