Admission of guilt by a tearful former official; boxes of letters of complaint received every day; all meeting rooms and dormitories scanned to clear bugs. These were some of the scenes in a TV documentary featuring the untold stories of China's anti-corruption and discipline inspections.
Aired on state media China Central Television and the website of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) from last Thursday to Monday, the four-episode "The Sword of Inspection" revealed details about how the country's graft watchdog brought corrupt officials to justice.
INFORMATION FOUND BY DISCIPLINE INSPECTORS
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, central authorities have conducted investigations into CPC organizations in provincial-level regions, central CPC and government organs, major state-owned enterprises, central financial institutions and centrally-administered universities.
After arriving at a location, members of the discipline inspection teams would meet with local officials and Party members, and receive letters and calls from the public.
Inspectors stationed at one of China's largest auto producers, the state-owned FAW Group Corp., received two to three boxes of letters of complaint every day and numerous calls from the public, according to Wang Haisha, deputy head of the 13th inspection team.
The public accused company leaders of leading extravagant lives while disregarding the development of proprietary brands and the interests of employees, Wang said.
"We received this information because we were there," Wang said. "The letters of complaint have painted a portrait of the officials."
The inspectors knew that there must be reason why one company had received so many accusations. Further investigation discovered that former chairman of the company Xu Jianyi had taken advantage of his positions, both within the company and in local government, to help others with business contracts, promotions, and accepted bribes worth 12.19 million yuan (around 1.77 million U.S. dollars) from 2000 to 2013.
The documentary showed that some suspects were interrogated to provide information on other suspects. The investigation into Yang Zhenchao, former vice governor of east China's Anhui Province was a case in point.
In Huainan of Anhui Province, inspectors heard that Cao Zhengyong, who had previously worked with Yang, was under investigation for taking advantage of his positions to secure construction projects, and Yang had been accused of the same issues.
The inspectors interrogated Cao and got specific information on how Yang had illegally secured construction projects.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, more than 60 percent of the investigations into centrally-administered officials were a result of information found by discipline inspectors, the documentary said.
Some places were inspected twice and the return of the inspectors meant even more former officials were investigated.
In 2014 when inspectors first entered northwest China's Gansu Province, they had already found former vice governor Yu Haiyan guilty of abusing his power to seek huge profits for himself and others, according to a member of the inspection team.
Yu was scared and anxious, and had started taking sleeping pills, a former official from the provincial capital Lanzhou said in the documentary.
Since 2010, Yu had been drawing CCDI officials to his aid and had conspired with Ming Yuqing, a former official with the CCDI. During the 2014 inspection, Ming cleared the investigation and closed Yu's case, according to the documentary.
After the 2014 inspection, discipline inspection authorities continued to receive complaints from the public against Yu. One week before the inspection team returned to Gansu in November 2016, Ming was put under investigation, and another investigation into Yu began in January 2017.
"Looking back on the choices I made, they were all stupid. [I] did think that I might have a chance to escape," Yu said.
The re-examinations also resulted in the investigations of Huang Xingguo, former acting Party chief and mayor of Tianjin Municipality, Wang Min, former CPC chief of northeast China's Liaoning Province and senior national legislator, and Wang Sanyun, Party chief of Gansu Province.
Altogether 16 provincial-level regions, including Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Liaoning have been re-examined.
Starting from the first round of inspections in May 2013, a total of 160 teams have been dispatched and 277 Party and governmental agencies, units and institutions have been inspected.