Chinese media have reported that several recently-arrested provincial and municipal officials were accused of “reading books and magazines with serious political problems.” Such offenses have been cited alongside more common corruption charges such as acceptance of bribes. The “problematic books” in question include publications and e-books of foreign origin. Government reports about officials accused of such behavior have been published on the websites of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and China’s National Supervisory Commission.
One example concerns former Guiyang City deputy mayor Lin Gang, who was expelled from the Communist Party and from public office for “unlawfully seeking benefits for others, illegally accepting property, and confronting the organization’s scrutiny.” He was additionally accused of “not believing in Marxism-Leninism, believing in ghosts and gods, participating in superstitious activities, and reading e-books and magazines with serious political issues for a long time.” Other officials recently accused include a former water company deputy general manager, a former deputy secretary of the Guizhou Provincial Party Committee for Political and Legal Affairs, the former deputy governor of Guizhou Province, and a recently expelled Shanxi City deputy mayor. All have faced charges of possession or reading of “politically-problematic” books or magazines originating from outside of China.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency noted that calling out officials for reading questionable publications or e-books has historically been quite rare, although there have been a few prior such cases.
Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), January 30, 2024