After China’s new President Xi Jinping became Communist Party General Secretary in November, he made it his top priority to crack down on corrupt officials, no matter whether high-ranking “tigers” or lowly “flies.” These scoundrels have traditionally have been immune to prosecution, with government censors swiftly hushing up accusations. And while many corrupt officials continue to thrive, this invulnerability is not what it once was — not only with Xi’s new directive, in the wake of which censors left allegations of graft untouched on the Internet, but also with a sudden abundance of jilted mistresses eager to use their ex–lovers’ status against them. A 2012 survey claims 95% of corrupt officials had mistresses and more than 60% kept concubines.
Bo Xilai, former Communist Party boss in the city of Chongqing, lies at the center of one of the most riveting Chinese scandals of the past decade. The high flyer was purged from his post last year before his wife Gu Kailai was convicted of the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Bo’s trial on corruption charges — he is also accused of attempting to cover up Gu misdeeds — is expected to begin soon. While the world awaits the fate of one of China’s most flamboyant fallen leaders, here is TIME’s list of nine more notorious Chinese fallen officials — some comic, some obscene, some downright evil.
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