By LUO GUAN
GUIYANG (China Daily Show) – Surrounded by stacked bills amounting to several million dollars, corrupt Guizhou rail official Du Guan admits he’s no longer quite certain why he needs that much money.
“At the time, accumulating hundreds of millions in dirty money seemed like an important thing to do,” Du reflects, fingering a packet of rotting 100-yuan notes.
“But now I’ve got so much, it just seems kind-of obscene and pointless. I do sometimes wonder what the point of it all is,” he says, gesturing at a large pile of diamond-encrusted dog collars.
Over his years riding the greasy pole to become a senior official in the Ministry of Railways, 58-year-old Du has taken bribes, received sweeteners, skimmed commissions, pocketed finders’ fees, looted public funds and accepted lavish gifts totaling around $1.2 billion.
But as he negotiates his way around towers of shrink-wrapped iPads and steps over a crate of Omegas watches still in their original boxes, Du says the countless riches have brought him little in the way of personal enjoyment, professional satisfaction or long-term familial security.
“As the way of these things go, I will likely get caught in a few years’ time and my family will be stripped of all wealth, status, assets and holdings,” Du says. “It would be really great to look back from my cell at a life lived richly and to the full – but, sadly, that is in no way the case.”
Suffering from an array of health problems brought on by a working lifestyle that necessitates excessive smoking, drinking, cheating and lying, Du’s high blood-pressure, bronchial problems and heart condition mean he can no longer properly enjoy the few hours’ of tawdry extramarital sex that is his sole pleasure and birthright.
Instead, most nights, Du slips sadly home from another desultory banquet, counts up more dirty money in his garage and then endures a brief, terse exchange with his estranged wife before collapsing into the spare room.
Du confesses he has no hobbies or interests, cannot invest any ill-gotten gains legally in stocks or shares, and is limited in how he even flaunts his wealth by excessive public scrutiny.
He owns 235 empty apartments, some of which may already have been demolished; Du isn’t sure.
“Accumulating enormous stacks of cash has become an end in itself,” admits a tear-stricken Gu. “I stick it under my bed, bury it, hide it – almost anything, except do anything meaningful with it.”
China Daily Show often covers stories Western media ignores. Stay focused with @chinadailyshow on Twitter