China / Government

Snap judgement of corrupt official

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-23 20:01

BEIJING - Love of photography has cost a prominent official his public position, his reputation and may yet cost him his freedom.

Former deputy head of the standing committee of the provincial people's congress of Henan province, Qin Yuhai, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and dismissed from public office following an internal graft investigation last month.

Qin's fall was directly related to his passion for photography, according to a Monday posting on the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) website.

"Obsession with a hobby saps one's will to make progress," said the article. It was Qin's penchant for photography that led him to neglect his work and duties as a senior Party official and provided disingenuous people around him with opportunities to bribe him.

At first, photography was just a hobby Qin pursued in his spare time, but later, as he became possessed by it, subordinates and the management of Henan's Yuntai Mountain -- a scenic area where Qin often went to take pictures -- constantly plied him with gifts of expensive cameras and equipment. A huge amount of public funds was spent curating and publishing his mediocre photos.

A businessman by the name of Cao who owned an image production company in Beijing spent more than 5.8 million yuan (944,630 US dollars) helping Qin publish his photos and hosting solo exhibitions for him in Italy, France and the United Kingdom between 2012 and 2014.

Another businessman, Li, head of a real estate company in Henan's Anyang City, provided funds and used his influence to help Qin become council member of the Chinese Photographers' Society, despite Qin's "second-rate" photographic skills. Cao also "bought" several domestic photography awards for Qin by bribing judges.

Cao contracted for Qin's work to be featured in the advertisement for Yuntai Mountain in Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai subways, earning a large profit for himself as Qin persuaded the Yuntai Mountain management to pay the advertising fees. Qin also helped Cao's company profit from tourism development.

The CCDI website states that Qin was well aware that he was being used, but that he found his unmerited fame as "a first-class master photographer" more important. The graft-busters declared that Qin misappropriated public property, accepted bribes in cash and gifts, squandered public money and abused his power. He was also found to have committed adultery.

"As a senior Party official, Qin seriously violated Party rules and the law," said the website, and his "vile" wrongdoings continued even after the 18th Party Congress in late 2012.

Qin's illegal gains have been confiscated and his case will now be subject to a criminal investigation. He has been under investigation since September.

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