CAI MENG/CHINA DAILY
In a luxuriously decorated big house, a prosecutor opens a refrigerator. Its cold interior, up to the farthest corner, is lined with wads of currency notes. He lifts the mattress of a double bed. Beneath it is laid out a bed of hard cash. Then he removes the front of a false wall only to encounter a neatly stacked up real wall of yuan.
This is a sketch from In the Name of the People, a popular TV drama that shows how a prosecutor investigated a corruption case and dug out all the suspects.
According to huan.tv, a domestic TV big data website, the very night it was first broadcast (on March 28), it got the top audience rating, breaking the monthly record. Its audience rating is twice that of the runner-up, the live China-Iran soccer match on the same day.
With less than half of the episodes broadcast, the TV drama has been the indisputable leader this month. And by April 9, the hashtag, #In the Name of the People#, had been read 17.56 million times.
There are several reasons why the drama has become so popular: people's support for the nationwide anti-corruption campaign since late 2012 is one of them. The fight against corruption has been in public focus with many "tigers" (corrupt high-ranking officials) and "flies" (corrupt lower-level officials) being caught.
So far, disciplinary agencies across the country have filed about 1.16 million cases against corrupt officials and punished 1.2 million discipline-violating officials since late 2012. The TV drama appeals to audiences because it best reflects this campaign against corruption. The realistic approach of the drama has also helped it win people's hearts.
Zhou Meisen, its playwright, said in an interview: "We searched the openly reported cases, and (discovered) corruption is more serious than a novelist can imagine. I have just tried to write the truth."
Neither Zhou nor the show's director tried to deny the rampancy of corruption in the past; they faithfully depicted some real-life cases, highlighting the amount of illicit money a corrupt official could make and how many officials could be involved in a single corruption case.
The iron-handed fight against the astonishing corruption cases revealed in the TV drama shows the ongoing campaign to root out corruption, which in turn will help propel the anti-corruption fight. The drama is a timely reflection of the achievements of the still ongoing anti-corruption campaign. But to better fight corruption, the authorities need to modernize governance, deepen reform and intensify the education campaign.
In the name of the people, the fight against corruption will continue until an honest society is built.
The author is a writer with China Daily.