Long retired transport official expelled from Party after granddaughter flaunts wealth online
Published: Oct 10, 2023 08:48 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A former transport bureau official who retired 16 years ago in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Tuesday over serious violations of Party discipline and laws. The case was triggered by the official's granddaughter, who had bragged on social media that her family has over 100 million yuan ($13.7 million) in property, sparking an online controversy.

According to Shenzhen supervisory authorities, Zhong Gengci, the former director of the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Transport's freight management branch, was found to have deceived the Party and not cooperated with investigations into suspected corruption. He was also found to have accepted bribes and abused his power for personal gain. Zhong has breached Party discipline and his actions constitute serious duty-related violations, according to the Shenzhen anti-graft body.

In line with Party regulations and laws, a decision has been made to expel Zhong from the Party and confiscate any illicit gains, according to Shenzhen supervisory authorities on the official Sina Weibo account of the Information Office of Shenzhen Government.

Born in 1947, Zhong became a CPC member in 1971. He retired in November 2007.

Zhong's case was triggered by his granddaughter, who flaunted her wealth and posted improper remarks under the online name "Arctic Catfish" via social media. "Arctic Catfish" said she had family property whose worth reached nine digits and that her grandfather "may have engaged in corruption." 

The Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Transport started to investigate the case in March. Zhong, the grandfather, was quoted by China Newsweek as saying that his granddaughter's remarks about a large amount of family wealth were not true.

The incident triggered wide discussion across social media, gaining more than 780 million views on Sina Weibo, with many supporting the decision and applauding the country's firm determination to tackle corruption. Many netizens agreed that major violations of Party's discipline should be dealt with seriously. 

China has adopted a systematic approach to fight corruption, with all anti-graft efforts conducted under laws and regulations, Yang Xuedong, a professor of political science at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The case is also a warning to problematic officials or those with potential problems. In China, even if an official has retired from public office for many years, they could still be investigated for engaging in corruption, Yang said.

On the same day, the Shenzhen anti-graft body announced that former director of the city rail transit construction headquarters office Li Fumin had been expelled from the Party and dismissed from public office over serious violations of Party discipline and laws.