Beijing (AsiaNews) - Even China has its Madoff: a scammer named Wang Di is on trial for stealing nearly 60 million yuan (about 800,000 euros) from 30 national celebrities, including several Olympic athletes. The scam was carried out to perfection because the woman, the girlfriend of a Chinese gymnastics champion, posed as a "princess", i.e., the daughter of one of the powerful Communist leaders from the Maoist era.
This scam mirrors the real corruption that prevails in the Chinese government. The anti-corruption monitoring body of the Communist Party has ruled that some 300 central government officials (including several department heads) in 2011 stole more than 4.4 billion yuan (560 million euros).
Wang's trial has attracted national attention. In addition to the stolen money for which she is on trial, the Judges of the Intermediate People's Court of Beijing believe that the woman has stolen another 58 million yuan from victims: an additional 34 million have not yet been found in the woman's accounts or properties.
Driving a luxury Audi and dressed in designer-brand Western clothes, Wang posed as the daughter of a former vice-governor of Liaoning Province. With these credentials, that mix the Western capitalism ever-more present in China with the fundamental political protection necessary for those who want to advance in their career, she tricked the actress Wang Likun, the Olympians Yang Wei and Zou Kai and several other celebrities, who gave her money for investments she never really implemented.
But the scam can't compete with reality. Liu Jiayi, Attorney General, delivered yesterday the annual report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. In his presentation, he stressed that the abuses in the financial field involved 50 ministries and government agencies. According to Liu there is "an increasing trend of corrupt officials who receive bribes through intermediaries."
Moreover, the prosecutor pointed his finger at the national budgets, which "show a lot of revenue and do not justify the expenses." One of the cases cited is that of international aid for 2008 - the year of the terrible earthquake in Sichuan - which reached the sum of 6.2 billion yuan: of these, only 1 billion was spent in a manner properly accounted for.
The central government and the Communist leadership know very well that the scandals related to the conduct of its members are among the worst threats to domestic stability. After decades of abuse, in fact, the population has begun to refuse to suffer passively from the various forms of harassment by local officials and - between petitions and street protests in Beijing - has also expressed its displeasure in violent form.
The Party has tried to launch several campaigns against corruption and in favor of the restoration of morality in politics, but the arrests in recent months seem to show that its efforts have completely failed. Several analysts and dissidents consider it "impossible" for corruption to die down until there is in China a democratic control on the work of government.