Speed Reads

Gold Standard For Graft

Communist official in China caught with giant pile of gold

Corruption and graft are practically a national pastime of China's politically unopposed, massively wealthy Communist government. A recent discovery reveals just how big the problem might be.

Ma Chaoqun, a former manager of the Beidaihe Water Supply Corporation under investigation for graft, was discovered to be in possession of 82 lbs. of gold when authorities searched his home. But that's not all: Ma also had nearly $20 million in cash on hand as well as documents related to 68 different houses. Ma now faces charges of bribery, embezzlement, and misappropriation of public funds.

A hallmark of Chinese President Xi Jinping's two-year-old tenure has been a massive push to fight corruption, but the problem persists: Transparency International ranked China 80th out of 177 countries for corruption in 2013. --Mike Barry