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China's Communist Government Has a Serious Corruption Problem

A general view of the closing ceremony of the 11th Beijing Municipal Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Beijing Conference Centre on July 3, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

In China, corruption was running so rampant in 2012 that the communist dictator, President Xi Jinping, launched an entire campaign to target officials suspected of corruption involvement. Two years have now passed since the beginning of that new effort but it doesn't seem as though things are getting much better.

A general view of the closing ceremony of the 11th Beijing Municipal Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Beijing Conference Centre on July 3, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) A general view of the closing ceremony of the 11th Beijing Municipal Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Beijing Conference Centre on July 3, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

At least seven top government officials are currently under investigation for charges including bribery, embezzlement and corruption. On Thursday, Chinese prosecutors arrested the head of the National Energy Administration's development and planning division on bribery charges. According to one insider, Yu is suspected of soliciting money from educational projects.

China's NEA falls under the country's top economic planning group, or the National Development and Reform Commission. In the first nine months of this year at the NDRC alone, 11 officials were punished for corruption.

The former deputy chief of the NDRC, Liu Tienan, was accused in September of taking bribes totaling 35.5 million yuan,  or about $5.8 million. And earlier this month, investigators found more than 200 million yuan (about $32.6 million) in the home of Wei Pengyuan, the deputy director of the NEA's coal department.

In the process of counting all that money, officials brought in 16 cash-counting machines. Four of those machines burned out by the time all of the money was counted.

Photo credit: Shutterstock Photo credit: Shutterstock

NEA deputy head Xu Yongsheng, NEA renewable energy division head Wang Jun, director of the NEA's nuclear power division Hao Weiping and deputy director of the NEA's electricity division Liang Bo are also under investigation for possible crimes committed, China Daily reported.

Why all the corruption?

Peking University's School of Government professor Yan Jirong said the corruption cases that have kept cropping up, at least in part, because of the NEA's control over the country's massive energy sector.

"When the officials have sufficient power to decide the result of a mega project, they have the opportunities to accept bribes," Jirong said, adding there is an "urgent need" to limit the NEA's power and make the way it conducts business more transparent to the Chinese people.  

(H/T: Event Chronicle)

Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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