Bribing Officials Surprisingly Affordable

Former railways minister Liu Zhijun received a suspended death sentence on Monday for accepting bribes of almost 65 million yuan, though the true total of his ill-gotten gains is reportedly closer to a billion yuan in cash, shares, vehicles and real estate. But according to a purported catalog of bribes paid in Yinchuan, Ningxia, most officials come rather cheaper. From Rachel Lu at Tea Leaf Nation:

The list is organized by the agency of the recipients, encompassing everything from city government, tax bureau, land bureau, police station to “sports bureau.” The amounts range from RMB1,000 [about $163] to RMB3,000, mostly in the form of gift cards. This user-friendly list also states the purpose of some of the gifts. For example, a RMB1,000 gift card to Director Jin of the religious affairs bureau is for the sake of obtaining a “halal food license.”

The list has caused a splash online, where it was retweeted more than 1,800 times. Most netizens were shocked not by the apparent existence of such outright bribery, but by the meager amounts of the gifts. Many asked if a few zeros were missing. @彭世佳 tweeted, “Such cheapstakes. Only RMB2,000 to the secretary of the mayor? What can they get anything done?真抠,市长秘书才给2000,能办成事阿?” [Source]

For lower-level officials, these sums might nevertheless be all too tempting. A young deputy township head in Sichuan recently announced his resignation in an open letter, saying that among other issues, his official salary was too low for him to provide for his son’s basic needs without help from his own parents.


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