Yu Hua: Follow the Money
At The New York Times, Yu Hua reports a literature professor’s suggestion, “based more on poetic license than empirical evidence,” that corrupt officials have helped rein in inflation:
Corrupt officials generally do not spend the huge sums they acquire from kickbacks, and are loath to deposit their money in banks for fear it will be discovered. So they hide their money instead. The professor estimates that as much as 50 percent of the surplus money supply may have been taken out of circulation for this reason.
China’s Internet commentators have seized on this phenomenon, hailing dishonest officials’ creative ways of hiding money as performance art.
[…] Xu Qiyao, a former chief of the construction department of Jiangsu Province, accepted some 20 million yuan in bribes. Parts of that sum were wrapped in layers of plastic and hidden in a hollow tree trunk, beneath an ash heap, in a rice field and inside a latrine.
Li Guowei, the former chief of the highway bureau in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, buried a box stuffed with 2.8 million yuan in a garbage heap next to a brother’s house. “I was an unlucky dog when I got picked out,” he said. [Source]