Caixin has a precise account of the rise and fall of Ji Jianye, 'the digger', former Mayor of Nanjing, which amongst other things is an excellent guide to how officials not born into the red aristocracy make their way up the ranks of both the Communist Party and the state hierarchy. Ji's first good move was to marry into an official family. That enabled him, after a stint promoting rural enterprise at a low level propaganda office, to have a crack at county level government and he was away: first developingTownship and Village enterprises; then becoming the 'man who washes the feet of Taiwanese investors'; then building infrastructure to attract investment; and finally segueing from that into using Nanjing as a base for massive, high profile construction projects of the sort that get you noticed at top level. It's the Chinese law of holes. If you want to get on, dig a series of huge holes and then fill them with enormous things. And never mind the little people:
But a dark cloud of public anger formed over the shiny new projects. There were media reports that people opposed to the projects were illegally detained or beaten. Worse still, landowners who refused to give their property up to projects went missing.
It doesn't seem to be this that piqued the interest of the Discipline Inspectors; rather Ji's ties to construction companies, some of which presumably acted as his wallet - enabling him by various means to live high on a low official salary. His downfall was aparently celebrated with fireworks in the streets of Nanjing.