For a pocket full of dollars....

My apologies, as I've just returned from a trip, and well, haven't really been able to keep up.  I'm glad to see my readership really hasn't dwindled too much.  I do have a proper post coming in a few days, on a newer topic, another subject I've wanted to get out for quite some time.

We've all heard the news of Zhou Yongkang.

Here is a quick link that sums everything up nicely:

Zhou Yongkang was a Son of a Bitch, with Chinese characteristics.  He is unrepentant.  He has confessed very little, and calls his arrest nothing but "political persecution".   Yet he is the modern day version of what one calls an Ugly Chinese.  He's had people killed.  And gotten away with it.   Representative of what the most powerful Chinese officials have become.  A caste onto itself, accountable to no one.  Above the law.  

Still, he wasn't the one with a solid statue of Gold found in his apartment, either.  Or with piles of moldy cash.  (it's sad that none of these people thought to simply just give it away to a charity, anonymously...they'd rather enjoy the status of simply keeping it, watching it slowly disintegrate)

What's interesting to note is his 2nd wife, a reknown CCTV broadcaster and reporter couldn't have cared less.  Unlike the West, where the Media look down upon obviously corrupt people with craven needs for Power, in China they succumb to it, like a drug, which is what it is.  When the thugs they are pledged to investigate and uncover wind up seducing highly visible lords of the Media itself, what hope does China really have for an Independent Press?

In conclusion, if Zhou Yongkang can go down, who's next?    Wen Jiabao, (who has just as much salted away)?

Jiang Zemin(who allowed it all to really get out of hand....nobody was this bad during the time of Deng)?

Will this once and for all satisfy the needs of the Chinese People for Justice?

In the interim, in light of Zhou Yongkang, and all the others, I wanted to again remind everyone of the context of his crimes.  Of what progress China has made in the war on corruption.  My have times changed.  Really, really changed.

Here is the original link, also posted below in full:

We are all jaded.  In the beginning we wrinkled our nose, and couldn’t believe what we saw, or heard, or read.   We nodded our heads in disapproval, and reminded ourselves how civilized we as a Western People truly are.   Than the more we walked the streets, and looked, and listened……and participated, we began to understand.   For instance, the “C” word.

One begins to come around to the idea that Corrruption is only a concept.   It is only a bad thing if you yourself have no opportunity to partake.   It’s only bad if you don’t get any.

Then you begin to wonder if corruption isn’t so bad for the economy after all.  It greases the wheel to the benefit of all.  With Corruption EVERYONE wins.   The seller is happy.  The buyer is satisfied.  The government is even content.  

 Now how is the government content?

The aim of the government is to ensure you have the proper environment for getting a job.  How you are compensated is up to you. 

Yet after one is compensated the goal of the government is than to ensure you spend as much of your money as possible.   Because at the end of the DAY an economy is only as successful as the amount of money it’s people is able to SPEND.   And Government’s are judged and compared by the success of their economy.    It’s all about the result and little about the means.


In this, the Gilded Age of Corruption within the Heavenly Kingdom, we now see it as the norm, rather than the exception.   Everyone partakes.  Teachers, policeman, low level officials.  The shock is gone.   And once the shock is gone, our disgust disappears as well.  And then we forget why we were even angry.

So it is easy to forget that once really not so long ago, there was a Time when rules meant something in China.   When arrogance, and a failing of the public trust had repercussions, and the insensitivity of the government towards the people’s expectations was not nearly as pervasive.  The story of Wang Shouxin is such a tale.   Many adjectives could be used to describe the Chinese in 1979.  Jaded was not one of them.   Nor was mistrust of the government.  China at the dawn of the Deng Xiaoping Era was perhaps like America circa pre Vietnam 1964.   Willing to put it’s trust in government to do the right thing. 

Wang Shouxin was executed in 1980 for stealing approx. 530,000 rmb.    In today’s dollars that’s $87k.   However, if a more realistic black mkt rate is factored in, the actual sum is surely much lower.   In 1990 my peak rate was 14:1.   Not even $40k usd.   Yet her story was the most outrageously documented incident of corruption up to then.   Further, she was initially only sentenced to prison, not to death.  Only the dogged work  and passion of a Chinese investigative journalist named Liu Binyan managed to get the case reopened.  Only then was she sentenced to death.  

What was Woman Wang’s crime?  She overpriced the selling of coal, and pocketed the difference between the State cost and her markup.  Simple.    She didn’t drive a car.  Didn’t own a house.   Didn’t have a passport.   And she didn’t have anyone killed.

Such was the sense of perceived injustice at that time, and the government’s harsh line on corruption, that the mere stealing of only $40, 000 could induce the government to sentence a person to death, to assuage the anger of the Chinese masses.

The bar has risen since than.

Perhaps no metric tells more how China has changed since 1979.

When “Boss Railroad”, Liu Zhijun and his brother bring home an estimated $50 million, and no one is executed, the story is complete.  Liu Binyan was outraged enough to write a book about Wang Shouxin, and her $40,000.  People or Monsters. And his book had the desired effect.  She was executed.   

When the “Boss Rail” story came out there was more curiosity than disbelief.   The sighs surely drowned out the rage.  People’s outrage has been overcome by an acceptance of inevitability, followed by curiosity at the size of the take.  Some are hyprocritical.   Those same people  that feign disapproval  themselves continue to participate in the orgy lest one leave his own morsel on the table for someone else.   No one is to be executed.     Even though he’s admitted to having people killed.  There will certainly be no freewheeling books written about the sordid story of Liu Zhijun.   


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