“I Thought I Could Do a Better Job,” Says Fake Official

Zhao Xiyong, the Shenyang man who had been posing as a departmental head at the State Council Research Office on various “official” trips since 2010, was declared an impostor by provincial and central authorities and placed under arrest last month. An update from the South China Morning Post reports that Zhao will be pleading not-guilty to charges of fraud, and provides a glance at the roots of his deceit:

On Wednesday, his lawyer said Zhao would plead not guilty to charges of , because his client had not profited financially from them. He said Zhao just thought he could do better than China’s real officials.

In 2004, Zhao unsuccessfully applied for a position with China’s highest executive organ, the State Council.

He then returned to work in his family’s business in Liaoning until 2009, when at a local meeting he was mistaken for a State Council researcher, his lawyer Kuang Jimei told the Dongfang Daily. “At this point, he realised the kind of influence such a position could give him,” Kuang said.

In 2010, he left his home province for Luodi in Hunan impersonating a State Council researcher, where the local government made him a member of the “Expert consultation and deliberation committee for major administrative decisions,” the Changjiang Evening News reported.

[…]After two years in Luodi, he “promoted” himself to the position of department head within the State Council Research Office. By that time, he had been hired as a consultant of a Kunming-based car-parts manufacturer.[…]

Xinhua notes another recent case of executive impersonation: last Friday a Hunan court handed Zou Binyong an 18-month prison sentence for “swindling by false pretenses.” The man had been posing as an NDRC official since 2011.

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