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Anti-graft efforts put in spotlight by documentary

By CUI JIA | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-01-17 07:16
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Former vice-minister of public security had 'never' stayed true to Party's faith

A documentary on China's anti-graft efforts that aired over the weekend revealed details of a former senior public security official who, in a rare description by disciplinary authorities, was characterized as someone who had "never "stayed true to the Party's faith, and "unscrupulously" cultivated personal followers and interest groups within the Party.

The downfall of Sun Lijun, former vice-minister of public security, is among the most shocking and severe graft cases cracked since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2017, according to the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission-China's top anti-graft bodies.

Two days after the top procuratorate announced that Sun was officially prosecuted for taking bribes, manipulating the stock market and illegally possessing guns, his case was featured on Saturday on CCTV in the first episode of a five-part documentary titled Zero Tolerance.

Many of the details, such as how Sun cultivated his followers to form a small political group and took huge amounts of bribes under the guise of accepting "a little seafood", have received wide public attention.

Sun became vice-minister of public security in March 2018 at the age of 49-the youngest of all ministerial-level officials in the ministry at that time. In September last year, he was expelled from the CPC and removed from the post for grave violations of Party discipline and laws.

Four other senior officials in the public security sector, including Wang Like, a former top official in charge of political and legal affairs in East China's Jiangsu province, and Gong Daoan, former police chief in Shanghai, were probed for graft and being associated with Sun.

Wang, while serving as deputy head of the public security department of Liaoning province, met Sun in 2008 when he made an inspection trip to Liaoning. Sun was deputy director of the general office of the Ministry of Public Security at that time.

Ever since Wang joined the police force in the 1990s, his goal had been to abuse power for his own interests, so he shielded local gang members and bribed his way up the career ladder, Gu Hui, a staff worker of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said in the documentary.

Wang believed that Sun could help him get promoted, so he handed Sun a bank card with a deposit of 1 million yuan ($157,400) in 2011. After Sun took it without hesitation, such bribes became regular dealings between the pair, according to the CCDI.

"He (Wang) normally visited Beijing four or five times a year back then," Sun said in the documentary. "During every visit, he would give me a small seafood container with $300,000 cash in it. So when he said he was bringing me a little seafood, I knew just what it was about."

According to investigations, Sun received more than 90 million yuan in "seafood" over the years.

"I helped him (Wang) become the police chief in Jiangsu province and later head of the political and legal affairs commission of the Jiangsu provincial Party committee. I saw him as one of my men," Sun said.

Gu said that since Sun started working at the Public Security Ministry in 2008, he began to cultivate followers and form a small political group to help him get more power. "He even had a 15-year plan, in which he hoped to move up a rank every five years."

In 2010, Sun set his eyes on Gong Daoan, then police chief of Xianning, Hubei province, for Gong's outstanding work performance. He then helped Gong become head of the Public Security Bureau of Shanghai.

To buy Gong's loyalty, Sun used the money he took as bribes from other people to help Gong's family members buy apartments and find jobs. "Gong then believed that by following Sun, he had secured a bright future. However, in the end, he just went down with him," Gu said.

Later, Sun also recruited Deng Huilin and Liu Xinyun into his gang. With Sun's help, Deng became police chief of Chongqing, and Liu became head of the Ministry of Public Security's Cybersecurity Bureau.

The probe into Sun's small political group is ongoing, according to the CCDI.

In the documentary, Sun also confessed to some behavior that shocked many viewers, such as that he believed "it's normal to run a red traffic light", as he considered it his privilege.

"I'm supposed to be the guardian of justice, but now I've become someone who has sabotaged the justice system," he said.

The CCDI said that the public disclosure of Sun's case, as well as more to come in the documentary, shows the Party's resolution and courage to squarely face the problem of graft and fight it to the end.

The name of the documentary-Zero Tolerance-sends a signal that discipline supervision and the crackdown on corruption will not ease up, but will become even more strict, the CCDI said in a commentary on its website on Sunday.

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