A new television series showing corrupt Chinese officials making confessions has proved a hit, officials say.
More than 10 disgraced figures will appear over eight episodes of Always on the Road – a reference to the government’s wide-ranging crackdown on corruption in the Communist Party.
The first episode featured weeping, repentant men and the controversial burial of a tortoise.
It has picked up millions of viewers online since it aired on Monday.
“People everywhere are talking about Always on the Road,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which investigates corruption and made the film with China Central Television, said in a statement.
Abuse of power
The documentary comes almost four years after President Xi Jinping promised to get tough on corruption in his party, vowing to go after powerful “tigers” as well as lowly “flies”.
However, critics say a lack of transparency around the purge means it has been an opportunity for Mr Xi to eliminate political enemies.
Three of the so-called “tigers” accused of taking bribes and abusing power appear in the first episode of the documentary: Bai Enpei, a former party boss who received a life sentence, Zhou Benshun, an ex-party chief awaiting trial, and Li Chuncheng, a former deputy party boss sentenced to 13 years in jail.
The story of Zhou went beyond simple corruption, revealing the former official had buried his tortoise with religious scrolls – despite this being against the law for party officials.
All three confessed on air, but Reuters news agency was unable to reach family members or lawyers for comment on whether this was done willingly.
China officials confess to corruption in new TV series}