The mess in China’s rule of law

Tian Xueren at court

Tian Xueren at court

China’s anti-corruption typhoon goes on with the latest casualty being Tian Xueren, former Jilin vice governor.

According to Beijing Wanbao (Beijing Evening News), on 85 occasions, Tian took bribes worth 19.19 million yuan ($3 million) but on November 1, he got a lenient punishment of life imprisonment as he satisfactorily confessed and repented and has handed over all his illegal income.

SCMP says in its report on the same event, “China’s President Xi Jinping has vowed to crack down on corruption at all levels of government, calling graft a threat to the future of the ruling Communist party.”

I regard what Xi is doing as a severe typhoon to blow away corruption.

SCMP, however, says, “But critics say the anti-corruption campaign by China’s new leaders has so far netted mostly low-ranking officials with only a handful of senior figures, and no reforms have been introduced to increase transparency to help fight graft.”

Perhaps, the analysts mean that there should be some laws or regulations to increase transparency such as declaration of officials’ assets. However, the greatest problem in China’s rule of law is the implementation of law.

A very clear example here is the similar verdicts given to Bo Xilai and Tian Xueren.

Bo Xilai was said to refuse to admit his crime and fail to repent. The court said that a severe punishment should be given to him for his poor attitude. He got life imprisonment for corruption involving a little over 20 million yuan.

The court said Tian should be given a lenient punishment for his satisfactory attitude in confessing and repenting his crimes and handing over his illegal income, but he got the same punishment for corruption involving a slightly smaller amount.

Where was the severity and where was the leniency? China’s implementation of law is just a mess.

Source: Beijing Wanbao – “Tian Xueren gets lenient punishment of life imprisonment for taking 19 million yuan bribes” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Source: SCMP – “China senior official Tian Xueren gets life in prison for bribery”

Categories: Crime & Corruption

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2 replies


  1. Chinese people’s bad behaviour causes poor image in Africa, negative international rating | China Daily Mail
  2. China: Little officials, giant corruption | China Daily Mail

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