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.
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
Bai Enpei, 70, former party secretary of Yunnan province
Li Chuncheng, 60, former deputy party secretary of the Sichuan province
Wan Qingliang, 52, former Communist Party chief of the southern city of Guangzhou
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.
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.
The crew even found an American to endorse the campaign — former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson.
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.
And then there's this guy, who broke down into a lengthy, tearful, apologetic monologue for the camera.
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.
Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.
Contact Beimeng Fu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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