An art-loving Guangxi county official has been brought up on charges of abusing his office and taking bribes after investigators found that he had spent more than 50 million RMB on a single rock carving, using money taken from the county’s disaster relief reserve fund.
The former deputy mayor of Hechi city, Huang Deyi (黄德意, seriously!), went on trial last week, charged with accepting bribes, misusing his power and commissioning the work of a pretty tacky but incredibly expensive rock carving.
Allegations against Huang began to emerge last year that he had “spent 50 million yuan to draw two birds.” The two birds in question are phoenix, and they are now carved on to the side of a cliff that is just off the side of the main road leading into the seat of Fengshan county in Guangxi province. (In Chinese “phoenix” is 凤凰. The name of the county is 凤山. Get it?)
According to China.com, Discipline inspectors found that the exact amount allocated to the project was 53.5 million yuan, all of it stolen from the disaster relief fund and equivalent to half of the county’s yearly income.
However, it turns out that only 2 million of that was actually spent on the carvings. So where did the other odd 50 mil end up? Prosecutors said that they are still investigating, but had enough evidence to bring Huang to trial last week.
With money he took as bribes sitting as evidence in front of him, Huang chose an unconventional strategy to explain away his misdeeds. “I didn’t accept these gifts on purpose,” he argued. “Often, I was drunk when I accepted them.”
Well that certainly explains a lot.
[Images via China.com]