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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
China's rogues gallery of graft
By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Guide at the exhibition on corruption in Beijing
The exhibition lists details of China's fight against corruption
At a new exhibition in Beijing, there are some handy hints for officials wanting to stay on the straight and narrow.

Pictures of clinking wine glasses and a pair of shapely female legs shod in red, high-heeled shoes warn of experiences that ought to be avoided.

The exhibition has been organised to showcase China's battle against corruption.

It gives details of several officials who have fallen from grace.

The exhibition is being held just weeks before the Chinese Communist Party's 17th congress, the ruling party's main political gathering, held every five years.

Listed pitfalls

A central component of the exhibition is a display to educate officials about the dangers that await anyone given power in China.

"Although life's road is very long, there are several critical moments you must walk cautiously," observes a slogan written above a list of potential pitfalls.

Poster of corrupt official Lei Yuanli
People say I was the official who played with power, played with money and played with women. I admit that I'm worthy of the name
Lei Yuanli
Ex-deputy mayor

The display warns officials with patronage to dispense to avoid favouring family and friends, and urges them to reject gifts given on public holidays.

Another constant temptation for officials, according to the exhibition, is women they are not married to.

Next to the picture of the shapely female legs is the tale of what happened to Luo Fayu, a party official in Guizhou province.

For two years, he used his position to collect bribes worth 2.3m yuan ($305,000, 151,000) to "curry favour" with his mistress.

Mr Luo received a 15-year prison term for taking the bribes. The display does not say what happened to his mistress.

The Guizhou official is not the only one who used his position to win favour from a member of the opposite sex.

Lei Yuanli, the former deputy mayor of Binzhou city in Hunan province, also used most of the money he took in bribes from real estate developers to keep a mistress.

"People say I was the official who played with power, played with money and played with women. I admit that I'm worthy of the name," he said in a confession displayed at the exhibition.

That confession runs next to a picture of a downcast-looking Mr Lei, who received a suspended death sentence for his crimes.

'Life and death'

There are pictures of other corrupt officials, many standing tearful in courtroom docks.

Others, flanked by police officers, have their heads bowed or stare solemnly ahead.

Undated photo of Zheng Xiaoyu, China's former head of the food and drug watchdog who was executed for corruption
Food and drug safety chief Zheng Xiaoyu was executed for graft

Their crimes - and the amount of money they managed to illegally acquire - are written in black and white.

The exhibition has been organised by the national prosecutorial office, with the help of 12 other central government departments.

There are many displays detailing the work already undertaken by the party and government to weed out corrupt officials. But government announcements show they still have a lot of work to do.

Officials recently admitted that nearly 5,000 party and government officials were punished in the first half of this year for squandering public funds.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has said fighting corruption is a matter of "life and death" for the party.

With their congress about to begin, party leaders are keen to give the impression that they are taking that fight seriously.



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