China’s biggest political scandals


Following the New York Times’ investigation into the wealth of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s family, here is a list of major scandals affecting the Chinese Communist Party over the last two decades: 1995: Beijing mayor Chen Xitong is sacked and two years later jailed for 16 years for corruption, becoming the first member of the senior 25-member Politburo to be jailed since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976. He is granted medical parole in 2004. 2000: Parliamentary vice chairman Cheng Kejie is executed for having taken $4.6 million in bribes in collaboration with his mistress while previously serving in Guangxi province. 2008: Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu becomes the highest-ranking official convicted of graft since Chen Xitong, who is not a relation. He is sentenced to 18 years in jail for his role in a scheme to illegally siphon off hundreds of millions of dollars from the city’s pension fund to invest in real estate. 2008: A massive scandal of contaminated milk powder — that leads to the death of six infants and sickens 300,000 — exposes the lack of regulation in an industry rife with cheating. 2011: Railways Minister Liu Zhijun is sacked and investigated for taking more than 800 million yuan ($127 million) in bribes while doling out contracts for the rapid expansion of China’s booming high-speed railway system. He is now awaiting trial. 2012: Bo Xilai, party chief of the southwestern megacity of Chongqing, is accused of abuse of power, taking bribes and improper sexual relations, in the biggest political scandal in two decades. His wife Gu Kailai, who was given a suspended death sentence a month earlier for murdering a British citizen, is accused of using Bo’s name to secure “huge financial benefits” for relatives and associates.