Path to corruption: Economic official's journey

Updated: 2014-12-11 17:14


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Path to corruption: Economic official's journey

Liu Tienan (center), former vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission and former chief of the National Energy Administration, receives life imprisonment on Wednesday, Langfang Intermediate People's Court. [Photo/Xinhua]

Liu Tienan, China's former top economic planner, received a life sentence on Wednesday for accepting millions of dollars in bribes.

A report published by the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), China's top discipline watchdog, disclosed Liu's roller-coaster-like path from the country's top economic planner to a prisoner who will spend the rest of his life behind the bars.

"Faced with the facts, I have been asking myself every time I read the indictment, is this me? How did I end up being corrupted like this?" Liu said during the trial.

According to the report, the hints to that question may be found in his childhood.

Born into a workers' family in Beijing in 1954, Liu Tienan experienced poverty at a young age. The bitter old days made him to be tough on himself and always have a sense of crisis, Liu told investigators. "On the other hand, I also desired an affluent life deep inside my heart", Liu said.

Once Liu participated in a parade to welcome visiting foreign leaders, but he was sent back to the last row for wearing a patchy shirt. These kinds of experiences, he said, "hurt his dignity".

After graduated from university, Liu first worked as a steel worker. His outstanding performance won him a spot in the State Planning Commission in 1983. After that he was promoted all the way up to the deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

From 1996 to 1999, Liu worked as the economic councilor at China's embassy in Japan. In order to save money, he often ate dried noodles in his dormitory and could only have a decent meal in banquets, for which he would starve himself beforehand.

Liu started taking bribes in 2002 and his first sum was 20,000 yuan ($3,230). The money was hidden under a new shirt, which was a gift from his briber. 

His appetite grew in the years that followed and the court found he took 35.58 million yuan in all.

Liu said that he was always focused on "climbing up", which had a deep influence on his son, Liu Decheng, who was born in 1985.

Reports show that 97 percent of Liu Tienan's bribes were taken through his son, who became involved when he was 21 years old.

"When I was young, I believed that money was omnipotent and one can have everything if one had money", Liu Decheng once told the investigators.

As a child, every time Liu Decheng was taken to his grandparents', he would always be reminded by his father to take the shortcut. He was also encouraged to pick short cuts in his life to win a better life and others' respect.

Between 2002 and 2012, Liu Tienan is accused of using his senior positions in the commission and other agencies to benefit five companies.

In one case, a businessman from Zhejiang province helped Liu Decheng found a company and paid him more than 8 million yuan through bogus transactions.

Now his son is under investigation, too, and might possibly face trial.