The man behind the crackdown is a national politician, Chongqing's Communist Party secretary Bo Xilai.
Mr Bo, tough, sophisticated and ambitious, comes from the Communist aristocracy - his father was one of Mao Zedong's leading comrades.
Many see Bo Xilai as a potential future national leader
Yet Mr Bo is very much an example of the new China - he dresses superbly and sent his son to Britain to be educated at Harrow - one of the most famous and expensive private schools - and latterly at Oxford University.
In his efforts to stamp out corruption in Chongqing, Mr Bo has attracted accusations that he uses some highly questionable methods.