News outlets have repeatedly reported on the scandals of Chinese officials, such as Gu Junshan, who used bribery to rise in rank. And given the regularity of reports of corruption, one may arguably regard Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials as being among the most corrupt in the world.
To explore whether that assertion holds true or not would be the topic of an entirely different article. So instead, this article will explore just one case of how a Chinese official used bribery and corruption to climb the ranks.
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This is by far not the only case in which the Chinese leadership cracked down on corruption.
The case of Gu Junshan
One of the most recent examples of corruption is Gu Junshan, who was charged with embezzlement, accepting bribes, misappropriating, offering bribes, and abusing his power.
In a report by the China-based Phoenix Weekly, one of Gu’s comrades said: “Gu’s life philosophy is that money answers all things. So Gu sent money, gifts, houses, cars, beautiful women, and even his daughter to his supervisors. In summary, Gu did whatever he could do to achieve his goal.”
Why was Gu Junshan convicted and sentenced to death
According to the Xinhua News Agency, on August 10, 2015, the Chinese military court convicted Gu Junshan of embezzlement, accepting bribes, misappropriating, offering bribes, and abusing power.
Gu was tried in secret in military court, as is customary for officers of his rank. It was reported in August 2015 that Gu was convicted on charges of embezzlement, taking bribes, giving bribes, moving public funds, and abuse of power.
He was sentenced to death, with a two-year reprieve, usually commuted to life imprisonment. He was also stripped of his lieutenant-general rank.
Who was Gu Junshan
Gu was the second lieutenant general to be investigated in the 100-year history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
One of his charges was offering bribes. He is said to have bribed two so-called “big shots” — Xu Caihou, a member of the Political Bureau of the CCP, and Guo Boxiong, also a member of the Political Bureau of the CCP. Both of these officials were also vice-chairpersons of the Central Military Commission.
How Gu received his promotions and appointments
Gu Junshan was the former Deputy Minister of the General Logistics Department of the Central Military Commission. To receive his promotion, he bribed the then vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, even with his daughter.
Liu Yazhou, Political Commissar of the National Defense University, on July 6, 2016, at the National Defense University Theory Learning Symposium, said about Gu: “He sent female singers, actresses, waitresses, and even dedicated his daughter to Xu Caihou.”
What did investigators find when they searched Gu’s home
According to the Phoenix Weekly, the military procuratorate’s agents raided Gu’s old “general house” late at night on January 12, 2013. They seized a total of 400 kilograms of gold, wines, furs, and ivory.
The seized goods in Gu’s home included the following:
- A giant golden boat symbolizing “smooth sailing”
- A golden washbasin symbolizing “tons of money and full of prosperity”
- A pure gold statue of Mao Zedong
- More than 1,800 boxes of Moutai original wine
- 11 pieces of Manchurian tiger furs
- Dozens of African ivory pieces
Because there were too many items to keep in his Beijing house, Gu also stored them at his hometown residence. Some 400 kilograms of gold alone found in Gu’s hometown residence was worth more than 100 million yuan (US$16 million).
How much illegal embezzlement was Gu involved in
According to an exclusive interview with a Phoenix Weekly reporter, Gu was involved in embezzling more than 30 billion yuan (US$5 billion). He was also said to have accepted bribes of more than 600 million yuan (US$94 Million).
Where did Gu get the money and real estate properties
As the allegations show, all the money and the real estate properties Gu accumulated over the years were acquired by embezzlement.
From July 2001 forward, Gu served as the Director of the Office of Infrastructure and Barracks. This department is part of the General Logistics Department of the Central Military Commission. In 2009, Gu was promoted to the Deputy Minister of the General Logistics Department.
According to a report by Hong Kong-based The Trends magazine, Gu appropriated assets worth tens of billions of yuan in the sale of 58 pieces of military-held lands in “high-price areas” located in the cities of Beijing, Jinan, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Fuzhou, and Wuhan from July 2009 to January 2011.
Gu Junshan’s ‘tips’ on how to get a promotion
It sounds like something out of a movie. But Gu Junshan had a philosophy based on how he came to power and how he used his influence to accumulate wealth.
Money served as Gu’s god. He sent expensive gifts, including homes, and beautiful women, including his daughter, to his supervisors.
Furthermore, he also forged documents with at least five accounts in his arrest profile:
1. Age fraud
According to different documents, Gu was born in three years: 1952, 1954, and 1956.
2. Merit award fraud
Gu received third-class merits five consecutive times. Which, according to later accounts, were false.
3. Education fraud
Gu graduated from the Air Force Second Technical School.
4. Child fraud
There was only the mention of a daughter in his profile records. But according to the computer of the General Administration Department, Gu also has a son.
5. Identity fraud
Gu’s father was an ordinary farmer, but later apparently became a “martyr” who died for the country. He even constructed a “martyr’s tomb” in Puyang and wrote a biography for his father.
Not the only one
It’s hard to believe that anyone could come up with these nefarious means of gaining power, and he was not the only official in China who has come to power this way or who is using his power in this way.
Even though many officials are being prosecuted openly and their cases broadcasted on Chinese media, one must wonder how many more Gu Junshans may still be in power in the Chinese Communist Party ranks.
There is a fitting saying by Lao Zi: “What you see is only the shadow of what you don’t see.”
Translated by Joseph Wu and edited by Hermann Rohr