8-part documentary features corrupt officials’ confessions

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/19 0:38:39

Confessions provide momentum to sixth plenary session: expert

"I have never dreamed of coming to this end ... I came from a poor family and have always hated corrupt officials but I myself have become one. This is extremely sad," Zhou Benshun, the former Party chief of Hebei Province who was sacked and indicted for corruption, confessed in a documentary aired on Monday. 

Zhou also discussed his obsession with Buddhism. He said despite being an atheist Communist Party of China (CPC) member, he donated money to temples whenever he encountered one and gave his dead pet turtle a Buddhist rite and buried it with handwritten scriptures.

Zhou is one of 10 former Party leaders to make a rare appearance in a documentary that takes viewers behind the scenes of some of the major corruption cases.

The eight-part television documentary, Always on the Road, highlights the Chinese government's resolve to pursue its fight against corruption and to help build momentum for the upcoming sixth plenary session, analysts said.

Former Yunnan Province Party chief Bai Enpei and Deputy Sichuan Province Party chief Li Chuncheng also appear in the documentary.

The documentary also shows footage from the trials of some former senior officials, including Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing Municipality Party chief and Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

As of press time, the Sina Weibo webpage with the hashtag Always on the Road had been viewed 480,000 times.

The documentary, which started airing Monday, was jointly produced by the Publicity Department of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and CCTV.

"Compared with past education materials on anti-corruption, this documentary is more impressive. Introspection from these corrupt officials could serve as a warning as well as a reminder to all officials and Party members to abide by the Party discipline," Fu Siming, a professor from the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, told the Global Times.

Fu said that the CPC has also shown its resolve in cracking down on corruption, stressing that the campaign is "always on the road" and will never turn back.

Future efforts

"The documentary also adds momentum to the upcoming sixth plenary session of the 18th Central Committee. It serves as a link between the past and future:  it summarizes the achievements against corruption since 2012 and highlights the Party's future efforts on comprehensively strengthening Party discipline," Zhuang Deshui, deputy director of the Research Center for Government Integrity-Building at Peking University, told the Global Times.

The sixth plenary session is scheduled to be held from October 24 to 27. A work report will be submitted to the CPC Central Committee by the Political Bureau at the plenary session. It will also review key issues affecting the comprehensive and strict management of the Party, a draft on the norms of intra-Party political life, and amendments to an intra-Party supervision regulation.

Zhuang said keeping Party organizations clean and selecting cadres strictly could include weeding out of unfaithful and slack officials and remove obstacles for reforms, especially when different and complicated interests are involved.

Intensifying Party discipline and intra-Party supervision is not a temporary campaign but will be institutionalized with details and practices in the near future, said Zhuang.

According to the CCDI's latest statement on Monday, problems such as weak Party leadership and the erratic appointment and promotion of officials were common in five institutions, including the Ministry of Public Security's Communist Party of China committee. The anti-graft watchdog has called for improved leadership and promotions.

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