Before the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), they intensified the cleaning up of major corruption cases. They include not only “flying tigers” but also “flying flies” and officials at the bureau level who have been retired for eight years. “Tigers” and “flies” refers to the powerful leaders (tigers) and lowly bureaucrats (flies) in Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s purging campaign against corruption and petty officialdom. According to the most recent news, three corrupt officials over 70 are being investigated.

Lan Chengzhang

Lan Chengzhang is the former deputy secretary-general of the Chengdu Municipal Authority and a former party member of the General Office. In addition, he held other various leadership positions in Chengdu during his career. 

On September 24, officials in Sichuan expelled Lan Chengzhang from the party and took away his retirement benefits because he allegedly worked in an illegal position and committed bribery.

The incident happened eight years after he retired in 2014. 

According to Chinese language media Xin Tang Ren commentator Chen Simin, Lan Chengzhang was close to “Great Tiger” Zhou Yongkang and worked for the “Chuan Tiger” Li Chuncheng. Lan Chengzhang has been retired for eight years, but even at 70, he is still being investigated. If Xi’s rules against corruption are followed, the network behind his troublemaking may be surprised.

It’s public knowledge that Zhou Yongkang was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s highest decision-making body, and the Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission between 2007 and 2012. He was one of the most powerful leaders in China. However, he was convicted of corruption-related charges in 2014 and expelled from the CCP in the same year. It happened under Xi Jinping’s infamous anti-graft crackdown where Xi vowed to “strike tigers, or powerful officials like Zhou Yongkang, and flies, or lowly bureaucrats, at the same time.”

Both Li Chuncheng and Zhou Yongkang were looked into for following the Jiang Zemin faction and joining in persecuting Falun Gong followers.

Zhang Xinshi & Hu Junlie

On September 23, the Jiangsu Provincial anti-corruption agency said that Zhang Xinshi, 71, the former secretary of the Party Committee of Jiangsu Communications Holdings Co. Ltd., was suspected of seriously breaking the rules and laws. He is being reviewed and supervised for discipline. He was the mayor of Suqian and the head of the party. Lan Chengzhang also retired in 2014 and was investigated eight years after retirement.

The third retired official under investigation is Hu Junlie, 72. He is a former secretary of the party committee and chairman of Chongqing Grain Group Co., Ltd. Earlier this month, he was suspected of seriously breaking the rules and laws and is going through a disciplinary review. After being retired for eight years, Hu Junlie is now under investigation.

Retirement now is not itself a magic wand. As efforts to fight corruption have strengthened over the past few years, “senior” officials have been constantly investigated. Apart from the three mentioned above, there are many other cases. Wang Zhenlin, then 75, was looked into in January 2021. He was Secretary of the Party Committee and Director of the Inner Mongolia Coalfield Geology Bureau. 

Cai Esheng, then 70, was the vice chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission. He was looked into in July 2021. 

Liu Jifu was the head of the Jiangxi Provincial Department of Land and Resources. He was looked into when he was 72 years old in October 2021.

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