Tracking Corruption in China


Since assuming power, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has waged a campaign against corruption, exposing thousands of government and military officials. Schema collaborated with the ChinaFile, an online publication by the Asia Society, on an interactive data visualization, "Catching Tigers and Flies" that displays the individuals targeted for corruption and the connections among them. The data is drawn from public announcements of investigations made by the Chinese government and its official media affiliates.

An interactive visualization shows individuals targets for corruption under Xi Jinping

Hovering on an individual shows their connections

Clicking on an individual shows their profile

Filtering the grid by stage

The sector view shows tigers and flies by sector

All Tigers and Flies for a specific province
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Our process began by asking questions of the data which lead us to identify key features for the tool. We worked closely with the ChinaFile team on the design of the visualization. The central element is a grid of icons representing the targeted government officials, differentiating between tigers (higher-up governmental and military officials) and flies (lower-level officials and individuals), as well as the stage of their investigation. Filters allow narrowing down the set of individuals according to name, status, stage, sector and location. A heatmap shows what provinces had the most targeted individuals, while a timeline shows the accumulation of cases over time. Selecting an individual shows their detailed profile information, including the sums of money involved, as well as highlighting their personal network.

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“Catching Tigers and Flies” is currently the only centralized source for complete and up-to-date records of Chinese officials targeted for corruption. Journalists and the general public can use the visualization by itself or embed it on their own site or blog, accompanied by specific insights they are interested in highlighting. The data is updated weekly. Read more about the project at