In China’s north-central province of Gansu, an official rose to power from poverty. He was taught not to be greedy, only to, later on, be carried away by the lure of fortune.

Former deputy director of the Gansu Provincial Department of Industry and Information Technology Li Shengfa was officially investigated last December for accepting over $4.9 million in bribes. 

Officials said that since becoming secretary of the Yongjing County Party Committee in 2006, he had been abusing his position to illegally benefit others in real estate development, business registration, project contracting, and job promotion. His misconduct persisted until 2020.

In 2007, Li applied for an ID card under the name Li Juliang by using forged documents. He also applied for another ID card for his son. He used the fake names to register several bank cards, which he would use to resell the property and accept bribery.

Most illegal funds were personally carried to Lanzhou city and deposited in several bank locations. From September 2007 to June 2014, Li successively deposited around $1.2 million in the name of Li Juliang and began to speculate in real estate.

In 2008, he purchased the first set of real estate in Lanzhou and resold it for a net profit of $58,000. After 2009, he used his and his son’s false ID cards to buy properties in Yongjing County, Beihai city of Guangxi autonomous region, Xi’an and Shaanxi provinces and other places.

In his confession, Li said he was confident that he could do it flawlessly.

“I thought they were seamless and could hide from the sky, but now they have become irrefutable evidence that I have committed a crime.”

It wasn’t until 2019 that authorities started to lay eyes on Li. At the time, he bought three old houses in Lanzhou, waiting for demolition.

In 2020, Li transferred his family’s gold, paintings, pottery, and other property to relatives and friends. He forged evidence and colluded with his superiors to testify against investigators.

On August 17, 2021, Li was officially investigated. The anti-graft watchdog opened a case file against him four months later.

In January this year, it was announced that gold, cultural relics, and painted pottery were collected as evidence of corruption from Li, now 58 years old. Investigators said Li’s characteristic flaw was that he loved money.

On June 22, Upstreams News reported that he had been prosecuted for accepting bribes from 18 people totaling more than $3.4 million. 

As greedy for fortune as Li became, he originally came from a low-income family in Linxia Prefecture. As a child, except for the New Year, he rarely had enough to eat.

According to Yue Niu News, his mother used to tell him the story of two people who came to Sun Mountain to pick up gold. One person was happy with only a piece of the gold they found and returned home. The other wanted to carry as much as he could, which slowed him down, and he could not make it home before the sun came out. So he ended up dying surrounded by the gold he collected.

Li said that after becoming the county party committee secretary, people started approaching him to offer bribes. Slowly, he forgot his mother’s teaching and only thought about his previous life in poverty.

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