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You Can Now Watch A Whole TV Show Of Allegedly Corrupt Officials Giving Confessions

Spoiler alert: the Chinese officials in the series cry. A lot.

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China is bringing TV crime shows to another level: there's a new eight-episode TV documentary series featuring (potentially forced) confessions from the country's most notorious corrupt former politicians.

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Communist Party of China / Via v.ccdi.gov.cn

"Always on the Road," co-produced by state-run China Central Television (CCTV) and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China — the party's corruption watchdog, was reportedly shot across 22 provinces in the country and interviewed nearly a dozen former high-ranking party officials from behind bars. The first two episodes were aired Monday and Tuesday.

In the hunt for "tigers and flies" — a metaphor for major and minor corrupted officials — the country's ruling Communist Party has punished more than 280,000 officials for “discipline violations" in a desperate effort to restore its public image and authority. The arguably biggest "tiger" to date, former security czar Zhou Yongkang, also appeared in a supporting role through the use of archival footage.

Here's an incomplete list of the officials shamed in "Always on the Road":

Note: In modern Chinese politics, a party secretary is usually the de facto highest official of his/her area of jurisdiction.

Zhou Benshun, 63, former Hebei province party secretary

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Communist Party of China / Via v.ccdi.gov.cn

Total value of funds and assets embezzled or misused: not disclosed.

Charge(s): abuse of power and taking bribes.

Quote: "I've hated corrupt officials since I was little, [but] I ended up being a corrupt one myself."

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Bai Enpei, 70, former party secretary of Yunnan province

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Communist Party of China / Via v.ccdi.gov.cn

Total value of funds and assets embezzled or misused: ¥246,764,511 ($36,601,356).

Sentence: death penalty with a two-year reprieve.

Quote: "They [other officials] live in luxury buildings. ride with luxury cars, some even bought private jets. [I] started to pursue the same lifestyle, and my mindset changed."

Li Chuncheng, 60, former deputy party secretary of the Sichuan province

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Communist Party of China / Via v.ccdi.gov.cn

Total value of funds and assets embezzled or misused: ¥39,790,000 ($590,3955).

Sentence: 13 years in jail on corruption.

Quote: "Life is a live show, it can't start over again."

Wan Qingliang, 52, former Communist Party chief of the southern city of Guangzhou

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Communist Party of China / Via v.ccdi.gov.cn

Total value of funds and assets embezzled or misused: ¥11,250,000 ($166,8854)

Sentence: life sentence over corruption charges.

Quote: "[I] didn't discipline myself in booze and banquets."

Wan is not the only corrupt foodie — after a presidential decree requiring officials' banquets to only consist "four dishes and one soup," some turned their office's canteens into secret fancy restaurants.

Extravagance isn't limited to food. Here's $2,000,000 worth of bracelets the wife of a former official once received through bribes.

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Communist Party of China / Via v.ccdi.gov.cn

Most of the time, the bribes were for rights to develop land and real estate projects as well as natural resources, all of which are highly profitable.

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And even though officials are supposed to live in government-assigned apartments, one moved out and lived in a 16-room two-story villa with his secretary, driver, two cooks and two nannies (one of whom just looked after the man's pets).

The series made clear that Xi Jinping, the strongman president of the country who launched the unprecedented anti-graft campaign, is who these wayward officials should be emulating.

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Communist Party of China / Via v.ccdi.gov.cn

This is supposedly an economic hotel room and a simple meal Xi used during inspecting rural areas of the country.

The crew even found an American to endorse the campaign — former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson.

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Communist Party of China / Via v.ccdi.gov.cn

"I applaud President Xi Jinping because there's nothing that is more insidious and a bigger task on any country than corruption, so I just think that is really really important. I think it's a longer-term battle," Paulson is heard saying in the first episode.

The weirdest part comes when the show calls Buddhism, a religion practiced in China for millennia, a "superstition," to criticize an official for burying his pet turtle with Buddhist scriptures.

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Communist Party of China / Via v.ccdi.gov.cn

It might be up to the party to decide whether officials are allowed to practice religion, but Buddhism is an officially approved religion in the country (along with Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Taoism).

Widely shared on WeChat, and watched almost 30 million times on Tencent's video streaming site, the show is meant to showcase the results of Xi's anti-corruption campaign, which he says is not a crackdown to get rid of his political opponents.

However, some are saying that far-reaching anti-corruption campaign might not really work as Xi expected.

Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Officials investigated were said to be denied due process to defend themselves, resulting in more than 99% of them being convicted.

And the massive crackdown on bribery and corruption is hurting China's economy, according to Forbes, as the country's business is knitted by "guanxi networks," or interpersonal ties.

Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at beimeng.fu@buzzfeed.com.

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