watching corruption: all hail the Chinese!

I DON’T find it easy expressing admiration for countries that are not Ugandan but the Chinese today receive a sounding round of applause for being extremely serious about anything that they approach. 

Generalising to include all Chinese is wrong, of course, but as we say in Ug: “Just allow!”

These guys have caught my attention today because of a chap called Yang Dacai, who has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption.

The applause is not just because a thief has been jailed, it’s the manner in which the story was put into motion and followed through that had me marvelling when the story broke on BBC right there in my car (on the radio).

This despicable fellow came to public light because he was smiling at the scene of an accident in which 36 people died in August last year.

People were enraged and the photograph went down the Social Media tubes at the speed of a tweet. I didn’t see it nor hear of the outrage, mostly because at that time in Uganda we were probably engulfed in some issue or another – perhaps embezzlement charges to do with Kazinda (I can’t even remember his second name as I type this) or Christopher Obey.

But, this fellow’s wrongly implemented smile wasn’t the only issue.

Some people looked at the photographs and then at more photos of the same guy and then started asking, “How come he has so many different watches?” which question turned into, “How come that guy’s different watches are all so expensive?”

The graphic put up on the BBC website tells you how serious this is:

The many watchfaces of Yang Dacai – BBC Photo

Brother Wristwatch, meanwhile, is not a major public figure – he was just the head of some government work safety body in Shanxi Province<— yeah, I had also never heard of this province before.

Got to the part in the story that reads, <<Yang Dacai was accused of taking bribes and “holding a huge amount of property”, state media said. He admitted taking bribes and said he could not explain how his immense family fortune worth 5m yuan ($817,000; £527,195) came about.>>?

US$817,000 = 14 years in prison.

As a percentage of China’s GDP, that’s 0.0000111643%. <—I am serious – I double checked the mathematics six different ways.

Again, US$817,000=14 years in prison.

And the evidence used to begin the investigation was simply that first photograph, followed by a careful perusal of many other photos in which the watches were clearly spotted.

And all this was started by civilians banging kaboozi.

How can you not admire this?

Next? Are you going to go back over the years of newspaper coverage and society shows on TV in Uganda to get people to explain where their cars and houses have come from?

You, yes, YOU!

I thought so.

But another thing – this week Dacai was charged, but he was first fired last year for the inane smiling he did, and after investigations had run a good course, he was also kicked out of the Communist Party.

Applause, applause! It turns out that your political party won’t protect you when you are suspected to be corrupt – they throw you out.

And NO, before you interject with the thought this this was just a lowly member of the Communist Party thrown to the fishes so that China can claim to be serious about corruption, the following are also under probe right now:

Jiang Jiemin, former head of the China National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s biggest Oil giant; Bo Xilai, Party Head in Chongqing;

Should I ask again what you are going to do?

I won’t ask, but I’ll tell you what some senior government officials in China did: they stopped wearing wristwatches. And it’s so serious that, “global luxury watch sales have seen double digit falls in demand from China and Hong Kong, two of the top markets…”

THAT story is here:

My hands are hurting from all the applause right now, but the pain inside me from how little we are doing over here is much, much greater.

3 thoughts on “watching corruption: all hail the Chinese!

  1. lolllz again! how you put it:)
    I did hear this story back in the days….and it was probably on BBC morning or after radio…driving in Kampala…sometime toward the end of last year or….I think that’s when the story broke….Good on China!


  2. Nice one, caught myself smiling… lucky I don’t own a wristwatch. On a serious note though, you would have no space in Luzira for the next 14 years if we used the benchmark “US$ 817,000 = 14 years” (Plus some guys would easily be up for 140 years). US$ 817,00… Simon please help with that GDP formula. Next? I’m off to look over years of newspaper coverage and society shows on TV in Uganda to get people to explain where their cars and houses have come from.


  3. Very interesting! But right on the “YOU” in Ugandans – we the people are the ones that have to bring these things out – those huge mansions you see are our children’s schools, health centers, etc – we would be a middle-income country by now if all the money wasn’t being stolen!


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