Chinese President Xi Jingping

Chinese President Xi Jingping is cracking down on corruption and punishing officials caught taking graft. Photo: Wikimedia.

As Wang Zhengshan, a senior development official in the Chinese city of Tianjin, approached retirement, he was afraid his quality of life would drop after leaving office, so he decided to invest in his future. Unfortunately, he did that by using bribes and grafted funds to purchase villas and build a private club for himself, complete with pool, gym, tennis court, restaurant, barbeque pit, imported mahogany furniture, and even a flower nursery.

In April, the Communist Party of China announced that it was investigating Wang under suspicions of graft and other crimes as a part of President Xi Jingping’s campaign against corruption. When Xi took office he set out to make government officials abide by the modest lifestyles they had vowed to uphold upon taking office. Widespread tales of graft and corruption have long upset citizens of China.

According to the party, Wang worked with “illegal businessmen” to acquire his money and build his luxurious private club. That club has been described as a copy of the Beijing Olympics “Water Cube” and, by the party watchdog on graft, “crazily luxurious. The party claims that Wang “ignored the law and discipline, acted without regard for any authority, was blinded by lust for money and went mad in his pursuit of extravagant pleasures.”

Understandably, he is no longer working as an official. He has also been expelled by the party and transferred to the legal authorities, which means he will be receiving a trial. Wang even tried to hinder the investigation by enrolling his accomplices in a “conspiracy of silence,” in order to keep anyone from talking.

That’s a pretty common tactic for criminals, whether corrupt politicians or not, and it stands to reason that it as a good idea on their part. The “illegal businessmen” who helped him will no doubt also find themselves on trial for their involvement in the affair.