Total profits and taxes from the Chinese tobacco industry amounted to over 1.2 trillion yuan (US$185b) in 2019 against the backdrop of China’s long-standing State monopoly system. Due to the monopoly on resources and its relatively independent management, the tobacco industry has become a hotbed for corruption, particularly in recent years. In October 2020, Lu Ping, former general manager of China Tobacco Hunan Industrial Corporation which has an annual output of over 100 billion yuan (US$15.4b), was investigated for serious violations of regulations and the law. She had been working in the tobacco industry for more than 40 years. In China, the tobacco industry is both an enterprise and its own administrator, and there is a lack of transparency and effective external supervision. It is time to improve the supervisory system, regulate personnel appointments and establish a modern corporate system in the tobacco industry.