A television show in China is attracting viewers for its approach to government corruption, Agence France Presse reports.
The five-part series aired by the state broadcast network supposedly shows officials confessing to corrupt acts they committed while in office.
One such official is the former vice public security minister Sun Lijun, who is accused of taking bribes, manipulating the stock market, illegally possessing firearms and paying for sex.
The confessions come even before the officials appear in court.
AFP also describes the show as a display of wealth and excess, such that the public is drawn to how the officials cannot seem to hide their pride at pulling off their corrupt acts.
Then again, critics of the President, Xi Jinping, say that the very public anti-corruption campaign was also his way of silencing his political opponents.
Whatever the politics may be, corruption is corruption – taking something that is not yours and using your position to gain advantage in any way.
If there were a similar show here, we wonder: Whose story would be told, and how would the comeuppance be portrayed?
Many leaders have promised to crack down on corruption, and aggressively. Some even declare that they would not hesitate to fire anyone, even their own allies, if there were a whiff of corruption around them. Others have uttered sound bytes that they would not honor friendships in the fight against corruption.
Despite these strong words, corruption remains very much alive – so alive that many have become resigned that it is a given in public life. It has historically crossed political persuasions and geographic areas that the likelihood of exposure, prosecution and even conviction depends on one’s political affiliations.
Indeed, wars against corruption are only as convincing as the leaders who wage them. This is such a tragedy, because the act of corruption, by itself, gravely injures the people and must be exposed and punished – whoever commits it, whatever the rank and whatever the color.