Ni Fake, ex-vice governor of Anhui Province, went on trial on Dec. 15, and admitted to receiving over 13 million yuan (about $2.1 million) in graft, mostly in the form of jade.
He took the bribes on 49 occasions between 2000 and 2012 from executives of nine companies, including real estate and mining businesses. In return, Ni used his position to assist them with development projects.
He was also accused of owning property from unexplained sources worth over 5.8 million yuan (about $937,000), and well above his official income, according to state media Xinhua.
The court published photos of Ni’s jade, such as bangles, pendants, and ornaments. Over 80% of the bribes were in jade, while the others were paid in cash or paintings.
The jade trade in China is worth about $5 billion per year, and this precious stone is much easier for corrupt cadres to launder than cash. However, Ni made no secret of his obsession, and wore his favorite pieces, while regularly bringing the others out to was them. He would also visit jade markets while on work trips.
Bloggers commented on the news via state media People’s Daily:
- “To make an exhibition of all his jade is a typical example showing corrupt official life. We fully support this. Using that jade to prove his guilt is a strong warning to other officials.”
- “This is a best way for those officials to conceal money using antiques, precious stones, paintings, or coins. They’re really good at hiding their wealth.”
- “He admitted to committing those crimes. Can we forgive him? He’s too greedy. Power in his hands turns into money printing machines. Anhui Province produces many migrant workers. They’re too poor to live on their own farmland so they go to big cities to work. Meanwhile those high-ranking officials make money easily while ignoring those at bottom of society.”
Ni is the third provincial-level official to be investigated since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, and initiated his anti-graft campaign.