China’s anti-corruption drive targets top university officials

College leaders ‘named and shamed’ for hedonism and fancy cars

China’s anti-corruption campaign spread its net ever wider with the naming and shaming of eight university officials for buying “fancy cars” and attempting to cover up the institution’s “chaotic” financial management.

As part of a crackdown on "hedonism and dishonesty" at the elite Communication University of China, Chen Wenshen, the college's Communist Party secretary, was criticised for using office cars beyond the standards his rank allowed, as well as for using vehicles belonging to inferior departments, the People's Daily reported. The newspaper is the official organ of the Communist Party.

Over the past three years, president Xi Jinping has launched a major crackdown on official corruption, taking aim at both the massive wealth accumulated by the powerful “tigers” of the elite and the backhanders palmed over to the “flies” at the bottom of the Communist Party.

Meanwhile, Su Wuzhi, university president, was removed from post for having an office "severely beyond the official standards, using university funds to hold banquets in public venues and putting gifts sent to the university on display in his own office without registering them in college records, in addition to the vehicle violation."


Vice president Lv Zhisheng was also sacked for failing to perform duties to effectively administrate the university and enforce frugality rules, which led to "chaos in financial management" and expenditures in official vehicles, trips and for holding receptions far exceeding budgets.

Mr Xi is shoring up support for the ruling Communist Party in the face of public dissatisfaction about widespread corruption among the cadres.

In an official announcement from the education ministry calling for tighter monitoring of the education sector, cadres were ordered to “learn the lesson, have firm faith and determination in the high aims of the party, prioritise disciplines and rules, and further supervise the power to administrate an upright government and risk management.”

Recent months have seen a wide range of officials fall foul of the crackdown, many of them allies of the jailed former security czar, Zhou Yongkang.

Mr Zhou, a former member of the standing committee of the Politburo, was sentenced in June to life imprisonment for accepting bribes, abuse of power and deliberately disclosing state secrets. He is the highest-level official to be convicted in the republic's history.

Third-level institutions have had their share of enforced morality of late.

Earlier this month, the Jilin Construction University in Changsha in central China introduced a ban on holding hands, embracing each other and feeding each other rice as part of a drive to crack down on “uncivilised” behaviour.

The university installed cameras in the university dining hall to stop such perfidious “intimate behaviour”, earning widespread ridicule online.

Earlier this week, prosecutors in Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong Province, indicted former vice governor of Hainan Province, Tan Li, on a charge of bribe taking.

The indictment alleged that Mr Tan "sought profits for others and accepted "a huge amount of bribes" while acting as a member of the standing committee of the Chengdu Communist Party in southwest Sichuan Province and other positions.

Clifford Coonan

Clifford Coonan

Clifford Coonan, an Irish Times contributor, spent 15 years reporting from Beijing