US database tracks China anti-graft drive

Updated: 2016-01-25 12:11

By Paul Welitzkin in New York(China Daily USA)

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Chinese officials convicted in the country's anti-corruption drive have embezzled or misused nearly 6.3 billion yuan (about $1 billion) in public funds, according to a database created by the New York-based Asia Society.

Information from the database - "Catching Tigers and Flies"- was first released on Jan 22 by ChinaFile, the online magazine of the Center on US-China Relations at Asia Society. President Xi Jinping launched the anti-corruption campaign in 2012, vowing to crack down on both "tigers" and "flies" - powerful leaders and lower-ranking bureaucrats.

"I think many of us in the media knew that but this database offers a compelling summary of information that shows how pervasive the corruption problem is in China," Susan Jakes, the editor of ChinaFile, told China Daily.

"We felt that President Xi's anti-corruption campaign was a major undertaking by his administration and this database allows people to view official documents and other information from those that have been targeted."

"Catching Tigers and Flies" is designed to give users information about nearly 1,500 of the corruption campaign targets whose cases have been publicly announced either by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), its official media partners, or related Chinese government organs. The cases tracked span the period from January 1, 2010, to the present. The tool allows users to break out individuals in the fields of mining, petroleum, law and law enforcement, media, military, real estate, and the railroads.

US database tracks China anti-graft drive

Of the more than 1,460 individuals tracked, the vast majority were officials at the local and provincial level; 175 worked for State-owned enterprises.

A couple dozen individuals in the database were under investigation for corruption before Xi became president, but the vast majority has fallen as a result of the campaign.

The database skews heavily male and contains only 69 women. Only three women, in a pool of 146, are "tigers", with a rank above or equivalent to that of deputy provincial or deputy ministerial level officials.

Jakes said the sentencing documents of the convicted officials include details of abuse. Yang Yueguo, a relatively minor Yunnan official, purchased 200,000 yuan worth of jade jewelry using public funds. Yan Yongxi, who once presided over Beijing's Mentougou district, tried to hide his embezzled millions in his mistress' gardening company.

Cases reveal that the provinces of Guangdong, Henan and Shanxi have the highest number of targeted officials after Beijing. Fujian and Zhejiang seem to have fewer convicted people, Jakes said.