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Disgraced official’s son shows rare breach of family loyalty in Chinese state TV series on anti-graft campaign

The son of a senior Chinese official accused of corruption has featured in a programme on state TV condemning the actions of his father, a rare breach of family loyalty in political cases in modern China.

Su Tiezhi is the son of Su Rong, the former Communist Party secretary in Jiangxi province. He was prosecuted for graft in July, but has yet to be sentenced. His son is also reportedly under investigation.

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The younger Su appeared on a state television programme on Thursday evening about the government crackdown on corruption. The series has been made with the help of the country’s anti-graft agency.

The eight-episode television series, Always on the Road, has been airing since Monday and will continue until next week when a four-day plenary session of the party’s Central Committee starts.

According to the programme, Su Rong introduced government officials to his son so the younger Su could help the friends get projects and the father and son could receive bribes from them.

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“He felt that it was his last term [as provincial party secretary],” Su said and that his father wanted to take advantage of his position for his own gain.

When the journalist asked if Su Rong took the initiative to introduce the officials in Jiangxi, the younger Su responded: “Yes, he would introduce friends in his circle to me.”

Family members testifying against another in criminal cases is a controversial issue in China and public denouncements of parents by their own children, a common practice in the Cultural Revolution, have largely disappeared from political life in China in recent times.

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Gu Kailai, the wife of Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing Communist Party chief jailed for corruption in 2013, did give evidence against him through a video recorded in jail. She was convicted of ordering the killing of a British businessman.

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Bo’s son, however, Bo Guagua, has repeatedly defended his father’s reputation.

He published a short statement in 2012 after the charges made against his father were made public.

He “is upright in his beliefs and devoted to duty” and “has always taught me to be my own person and to have concern for causes greater than ourselves”, the statement said.

A few days before Bo’s trial, his son, who lives in the United States, said in the The New York Times that “if my well-being has been bartered for my father’s acquiescence … then the verdict will clearly carry no moral weight”.

The sons of Zhou Yongkang, China’s former security tsar, and Guo Boxiong, the former vice-chairman of China’s military commission, were also investigated during their corruption probes.

Both have yet to make any public statements criticising their fathers.

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Su Rong, one of the “biggest tigers” netted by President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign, blamed himself on Thursday’s programme for bringing down his whole family.

“My wife … has become a synonym for power-for-money deals in Jiangxi and in my family I am not a good father, not a good husband,” he said. “I destroyed myself, my wife and my son. I brought the whole family into the pit of economic crimes”.