Cai Bin: How I Came to Own 21 Houses

One of my houses

Cai Bin, an official in the Guangzhou municipal government, is under investigation after netizens discovered that he and his family members own 21 houses. In this deposition, Cai reveals how he came to own all these houses when most urban Chinese struggle to afford even one.

In the past week, a lot of people have expressed shock and surprise that a low-level corrupt official like me could accumulate 21 personal homes. But, to tell you the truth, it really wasn’t that hard. Let me walk you through it.

House #1. This one was semi-legit. My wife’s family wouldn’t allow her to marry me if I didn’t have a house so I saved all my bribes for half a year. My wife did her part and only bought one Hermès bag a month. I still don’t know how she did it.

#2. After buying that first home, I realized the importance of owning property. Also, I got promoted so I was receiving larger bribes.

#3. I bought this one without telling my wife and put it under my own name. I really recommend this for all the venal officials out there. It’s just so much easier to keep mistresses when you have your own place.

#4-6. I was given these in exchange for political favors, I forget what exactly. Probably allowing companies to dump sewage into the water supply.

#7. I bought this one for my son when he turned 18. I wanted to him to live alone and learn how to be responsible for himself, lest he be dependent on me.

#8. This was originally an investment. I was going to flip it after a year or two but never got around to it.

#9. Wife caught me banging a prostitute; bought her this to calm her down. Why did I give her the keys to house #3?

#10. Bought this one with money I found when cleaning out my desk. Guess I had embezzled it way back and forgot about it. Don’t you love it when that happens?

#11. My wife complained that I never did anything nice for her so I surprised her with a condo for her birthday. What can I say, I’m a romantic.

#12, 13. I really don’t remember how I got these, just kinda woke up with the papers. You know how sometimes you’re crunk off Moutai and do some stupid shit and the next morning you’re like, “Man, how did I spend 15 million yuan last night?” Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

#14. Prostitute again.

#15. Got this one for my son when he met his first mistress. They grow up so fast don’t they?

#16. The city held a donation drive for building schools in the countryside and I skimmed some money off the top. It’s not a big deal though, we still built the schools. We just used cheaper materials. It’s a victimless crime.

#17. This apartment is only around 300 square meters, so I don’t know if it really counts as a home.

#18, 19. A land developer friend gave me a good deal on these, provided I forcibly evicted the previous tenants. No brainer!

#20. I bought this one to keep up with the Joneses. My colleagues and higher-ups were always talking about how they had twenty-something houses and I really wanted to fit in. Chalk it up to peer pressure.

#21. Now this is why you can’t trust the media. I’m still paying off the mortgage on this so I don’t really “own” it yet. The new reports are exaggerated.

If I could say one more thing: I never set out to own 21 houses. I think you get a sense of how, once you decide to be corrupt, things can snowball. I ask for lenience. If the judges could find it in their hearts to forgive my indiscretions, there’ll be something in it for you. Just pick a house and it’s yours.

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