So-called “smiling official” Yang Dacai (pictured), former chief of Shaanxi Province’s WorkSafety Administration, has been expelled from the Communist Party, according to state media. His case has reportedly been transferred to judicial authorities.
Yang was fired last September after photographs showed him beaming at the site of a highway crash that left 36 people dead. Outraged netizens proceeded to dismantle his reputation by unearthing and disseminating photos of Yang wearing luxury wristwatches he would have been hard-pressed to afford on a government salary.
In a then-unprecedented move, Yang fielded questions from microbloggers in an attempt to turn the digital tide in his favor. But few were swayed by his contention that he bought the expensive watches “using…legal income.”
Officials fearing they might share Yang’s fate amid China’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign may have contributed to a recent slowdown in sales of luxury items. But according to a recent report aired on China Central Television (CCTV), luxury brands are still making “scary” profits thanks to seemingly gratuitous markups that greatly exceed China’s 25 percent customs duty.
Sources: BBC News, China Daily, South China Morning Post
A version of this post appeared in the China Compliance Digest. For a limited time, subscribers to China Compliance Digest will receive the China Anti-Corruption Handbook (normally $750) and FCPA Blog membership (normally $495) at no extra charge. Details are here.