July 9, 2019 / 9:25 PM / Updated 11 hours ago
BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese officials must not use the fight against corruption as an excuse to sit around and do nothing, idling their time away and “spending the whole day eating”, President Xi Jinping told a meeting of senior Communist Party leaders on Tuesday.
Since Xi began his war on graft after assuming power in late 2012, the party and government have repeatedly scolded officials who think they can avoid punishment by trying to keep a low profile by not doing their jobs or making decisions.
Xi told the meeting that it was important to “correctly handle the relationship between being clean and being responsible”, the official Xinhua news agency said.
“You absolutely cannot view anti-corruption as an excuse to not accept responsibility or to do nothing,” Xinhua cited Xi as saying.
“Be brave to handle heavy burdens, crack hard nuts and handle hot potatoes,” he added.
“Don’t be muddle-headed officials who are politically apathetic and do things half-heartedly; don’t be lazy officials who spend the whole day eating and idle their time away.”
Xi has vowed to target both “tigers” and “flies”, referring to elite officials and ordinary bureaucrats in his corruption battle.
The campaign has led to the jailing or punishment of thousands of officials and also brought down dozens of senior party and military officials, including Zhou Yongkang, the much feared former domestic security chief.
The anti-corruption effort has not only focused on issues like bribery and using public money to fund lavish lifestyles. It has also taken aim at those whose political loyalty is found lacking or who express doubt in public about party policies.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie
Source: Reuters “China’s Xi tells officials not to be lazy and ‘spend whole day eating’”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Having closed black jails, Xi told local officials to pay attention to people’s complaints and resolve their problems.
Under Xi’s leadership, a TV and telephone conference was held on January 10, 2013. Through Politburo member Ma Kai, secretary general of the State Council and Chief of State Bureau of Letters and Calls, Xi gave the instructions to officials that they should ““regard the petitioners from the masses of the people as their family members, the letters from them as family letters, the problems reflected by them as family affairs and try every means to resolve the masses of people’s rational complaints”.
However, do not think that Xi’s words may bring about 180 degree changes overnight?
How did local offices of letters and calls implement Xi’s instruction?
If the Police Don’t Beat People, What’s the Point of Keeping Them?
In early July, 2013, a policeman beat up an innocent citizen in Suzhou City. It was obviously wrong as even a criminal should not be beaten up. The citizen complained to Suzhou Bureau of Letters and Calls.
What was the response of the official in the Bureau?
The official said, “If the police don’t beat people, what’s the point of keeping them? The police are the government’s violence machine”.
Despotic local officials held that police were kept to beat up innocent people instead of fighting crimes and maintaining social order to serve the people! In spite of his very low rank compared with Xi’s top rank, the official of the city bureau dared to defy Xi’s instructions blatantly and refuse to provide remedy for people’s complaints.
As local offices of letters and calls would not help, people continued to swarm to Beijing to seek remedy from the central bureau of letters and calls.
Xi closed all the black jails set up by local officials in Beijing, but local officials could set up black jails elsewhere and send thugs to intercept petitioners on their way to the central bureau and detain the petitioners in black jails.
When the central bureau became aware of the interception, it began to accept complaints on the Internet in early July, 2013. People were so scared of local despots’ persecution, quite a few of them did not dare to provide their names or addresses for the bureau to follow up their cases for fear of retaliation from local despots.
Excessive Police Power
At that time police had excessive power and local officials, especially corrupt ones, relied on the police to exercise the excessive power to protect them and used police to oppress common people. The police had the excessive power to send people to re-edication-through-labor camps for a maximum term of four years without undergoing any legal procedures.
There had been some unbelievable instances of their arrogant defy to people’s complaints of their crimes.
Tang Hui’s Fight against Crimes Protected by Police
In 2006 Tang Hui’s 11-year old daughter was kidnapped, raped and forced into prostitution. Tang sought police help to find her daughter in vain. About six months later, Tang found her daughter herself and leant her misery. She sought justice to punish the abductors and the police whom her daughters told her protected the abductors.
Neither the police nor the courts were willing to help her. She had to kneel for hours outside the Hunan Higher People’s Court but to no avail. She then went to Beijing to file petitions with higher authorities.
Due to police protection it took years for Tang Hui to succeed in having seven of the criminals finally convicted quite a few years later in June, 2012, with two condemned to death, four given life sentences and one jailed for 15 years.”
However the two policemen were not punished for their crime of protecting the criminals. Tang fought on in order to have the policemen punished too. To silent Tang, in August 2012, local police sent her to a re-education-through-labor camp. What was the offence Tang was punished by the police for? Tang’s petition to punish the policemen for their crimes in protecting criminal prostitution operations was regarded by the police as the offence of “seriously disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society”. For the local police kidnapping young girls and forcing them into prostitution was the social order no one should disturb while exposing such crimes of the police exerted negative impact on society.
Local corrupt government allowed the police to abuse their power but such malpractices of the police roused public outrage. Media and people’s protests forced the police to release Tang within a weak.
In early 2013, Tang was so brave as to sue the committee of the police in charge of re-education through labor for its decision to send her to the labor camp, seeking apology and compensation of 1,463.85 yuan ($240) for the time she served, but lost. The court shielded the police but Tang did not accept the verdict. She filed an appeal.
On July 2, the Hunan Higher People’s Court in central China heard her appeal for nearly four hours.
More than 200 people including 50 journalists attended the hearing to support Tang. People and media had been roused to participate in the fight against despotic police. CCTV gave prompt report on the verdict of Tang’s case in the morning of July 15, 2013: “With respect to the case of Tang Hui v. Hunan Yongzhou Committee of Re-education Through Labor for administrative compensation, at 9:15 am, Hunan Higher People’s Court gave its verdict of final instance. Tang Hui has won the case. The Committee has been ordered to pay Tang 1,941 yuan ($317) as compensation for infringement on personal freedom and 1,000 yuan ($163) for soothing of mental injury. The court did not support Tang Hui’s demand for a written apology.”
The presence of lots of journalists and people at the hearing and the prompt report by CCP’s mouthpiece CCTV both indicated people’s keen desire to fight official and police despotism.
Tang won the case but was still unable to have the two policemen punished.
Local, Especially Police, Despotism Remained
Local officials did not obey Xi’s instructions, but people were encouraged by Xi’s blitz actions and instructions. Netizens and media had the courage to inform about corruption. Previously, local authorities usually put great pressure on informers to silent them and even sent them to re-education-through-labor camps. Since Xi’s blitz actions, local governments were forced by the central authorities to make investigation and punish the corrupt officials. But such cases were after all few. Xi had not yet conducted a large-scale nationwide campaign against rampant corruption.
Therefore, local, especially police, despotism remained blatant. That was why Tang could not have the two guilty policemen punished though she had won her case. The case below showed how local officials and police rode roughshod over people.
Petitioner Imprisoned Indefinitely in a Deserted Morgue
Petitioner Chen Qingxia’s husband Song Liping was sent to a re-education-through-labor camp for one year and nine months for a minor offense of vandalism after 15-day detention. Chen opposed such serious punishment for a minor offence. Moreover, she found her husband was beaten up in the camp. Therefore, she went to Beijing Bureau of Letters and Calls to complain and seek remedy. She had committed no offenses whatever but was sent to a re-education-through-labor camp for one and a half years after she was intercepted and taken into custody by thugs of the local government. She was beaten up and crippled there.
After she was released from the camp, she was further imprisoned in a deserted morgue indefinitely in Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province. Though she was wheel-chair bound, she was closely watched all the time by a video camera in her room to prevent her from escape.
She put on a window a poster seeking help. A China National Radio reporter learned her plight, pretended to be her relative, succeeded in visiting her and published a report on her on January 24, 2013.
In spite of Xi’s blitz actions in December 2012 and the instruction on treating petitioners as family members at the conference on January 10, 2013, the reporter was harassed by police after the report was published. On his Sina Weibo account, the reporter said local police had visited his home, tampered with his mobile phone and diverted his SIM card to a different phone number. He was afraid of further persecution and asked for help on the Internet.
The Propaganda Department of the district of Yichun City where Chen was imprisoned was so impudent in its response to the report that it published a statement claiming that placing Chen Qingxia under house arrest was their “humanitarian care” of Chen and such “humanitarian care” would continue.
Media and people’s indignation finally made the district government dismiss three local officials responsible for the persecution, release Chen and promise to give Chen compensation. Chen’s case told us how difficult it was for Xi to have his instruction implemented voluntarily by local governments.
No Anti-corruption Cyclone Yet
Xi Jinping’s government has merely taken prompt actions in dealing with the small number of corruption cases that web users and media exposed as they were encouraged by Xi’s blitz actions and supported by the central authorities. There had not been a vigorous national campaign against corruption. Some people became impatient and held demonstration to urge for the fight against corruption, still Xi took his time with ease.
What had caused the delay?
Xi knew that fighting corruption was a very hard job that required a new way with innovation and creation.
True, Xi had a strong force, but the enemy was also strong and controlled the military and police. Moreover, in China’s long history, there were almost no success in fighting corruption. Can Xi be an exception? Local despots and high corrupt officials did not believe that Xi was able to succeed; therefore, they remained arrogant and kept disregarding or even defying Xi’s instructions.
In fact, Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao had also made great efforts to fight corruption but without success.
Wang Yang, one of Hu’s major protégés had been championing his anti-corruption campaign in Guangdong when Wang was Guangdong party boss. Wang Yang began his anti-corruption campaign in Guangdong in February 2012. By December 4, 2012, 471 cases were investigated involving 486 people and more than 100 million yuan ($160,000). Among the cases, 169 involved major bribery. About 327 people have been punished, with 268 subjected to party discipline, 134 receiving administrative punishment, and 114 referred for criminal prosecution. The highest official found guilty was Guangzhou deputy police chief He Jing.
For a large and rich province with tens of millions of people, the number of officials found guilty was small and their rank, low. Especially, the total amount involved in the cases was negligible compared with the huge amount (600 billion yuan by January 2014) involved in the cases investigated in Xi’s anti-corruption drive.
Wang was very competent and later promoted into the Politburo Standing Committee by Xi. However, in spite of his diligence and talents, his fight against corruption failed sadly.
What about Hu Jintao?
Jiang Zemin was quite upset at the rampant corruption during Hu’s reign. Former Jiang’s Premier Zhu Rongji spoke out about the corruption problem for Jiang first in April 2011 at Tsinghua University when he was there to attend the University’s centennial celebration. Later in January 2012, in an impromptu speech to Bureau-level officials in Shanghai, Zhu mentioned the clean government when he was in charge of Shanghai under Jiang’s leadership to hint Jiang’s indignation at the corruption at that time.
However, in the decade when Hu was CCP top leader, Hu did set up an inspection tour system to send central inspection teams to investigate local governments regularly but those teams’ failure to find and punish corrupt officials only made corrupt officials bolder in committing their corruption crimes.
What should Xi Jinping do?
Article by Chan Kai Yee
This is the article I promised to write in my previous post “Xi Jinping’s Balancing Art” to elaborate on Xi’s secret goal in conducting his mass line campaign.
CCP’s Real Crisis of Survival
“Being divorced from the masses of the people” is Xi Jinping’s euphemism for local officials turning CCP into the people’s enemy. Local despots’ infringement on people’s rights and interests gave rise to tens of thousands of people’s protests each year. There is statistics from investigation that before Xi took over the reign there were in China more than one hundred thousand incidents of mass protest to protect their rights every year.
CCP has set up agencies of letters and calls at various levels for petitioners to submit their complaints and provide remedy for them, but local agencies failed to provide remedy for people’s petitions. On the contrary, they mostly shielded the officials whose misconducts had been exposed by petitioners and tried hard to silence complaints and even persecuted petitioners. That was why lots of petitioners went to central agency of letters and calls to lodge their complaints.
Local despots set up black jails in Beijing to round up petitioners and persecuted them to silence them. If a petitioner persisted in petitioning, they imprisoned him in a local reeducation-through-labor camp without any legal procedures. People were forced to take to the streets to protest. However, instead of understanding and making allowance for people’s complaints, local governments sent armed police to suppress protesters with the excuse of maintaining stability. The masses of the people, though silenced by violence, remained indignant. Their indignation might erupt any time and would be impossible to suppress like volcano eruptions. That was the greatest threat faced by CCP at that time; therefore, for CCP, rectification of the malpractice of “being divorced from the masses” was instead the most important.
That was why Xi closed black jails and rectified CCP’s letter and calls agencies as soon as he took over the reign. He said that his second task was to abolish the reeducation-through-labor system. In spite of strong resistance from police and local governments, he succeeded in abolishing the system on December 28, 2013, one year after he was elected CCP general secretary.
Xi has thus removed the obstacles to people’s fight against local officials’ malpractices including corruption. Xi knows well that he shall not entirely deprive officials of their authority as the official system will be unable to operate without authority, but there must be people’s power to balance officials’ power, i.e. people shall have the power to inspect officials so that officials have to perform their obligations without abusing their authority.
In addition, Xi has been improving China’s legal system for the rule of law so that people have the last resort to use law to protect their rights and interests. That is why Xi wants China’s legal system to be independent. Some China watchers have insight that China’s legal system cannot be independent from CCP. Certainly, Xi only wants it to be independent from officials so that the legal system can help the masses of people inspect officials.
From the above we can see that Xi Jinping’s mass line education campaign is in fact a campaign of democratic supervision. However, Xi avoided the use of the wording that despotic officials have turned CCP into enemy of the people as that will be too sensational. Nor did he mention democracy as due to the Tiananmen Protests most conservatives hate the mentioning of democracy and regard it as what the West exploits for regime change. Xi is wise to avoid debate with conservatives over democracy. What he cares is the actual result instead of the wording in that campaign.
From Xi’ closing of black jails and abolishment of the reeducation-through-labor system, we must already be aware that Xi had a plan long ago to use the power of the masses of people to balance that of the vested-interest group of officials. With such a balance, he can make his official system serve the masses of people satisfactorily.
The mass line campaign has indeed brought fundamental changes to China’s official system. Before the campaign, people waited in long queue to go through some official formalities in government offices but the officials dealing with the formalities worked slowly while chatting joyfully. There were no such scenes in government offices now. Having been severely criticized by the masses of people, government staff now has to work diligently without chatting or doing anything else.
That is but the work style of lowest ranking officials. Can Xi touch the work style of high officials? High officials were criticized much more severely and the inspection teams sent by Xi to local governments focused on the work style of high officials especially top province-level officials. Most of the top officials were taken by surprise as they believed that Xi would instead conduct a nationwide anti-corruption campaign. Most of them did not worry as they were not corrupt. Xi however conducted a mass line education campaign that focused on their work style such as dealing with masses of people’s petitions and protests, extravagance in the ceremonies, receptions, visits, etc. such as the use of red carpet, decoration of lots of flowers, let alone the attending of luxurious banquets and drinking of expensive liquors.
A provincial head had great trouble when he had been seen having a subordinate holding an umbrella to keep rain away from him during his visit of a work site in the open. Such irregularities were very common but high officials found themselves in great trouble for such minor issues. As a result, Xi’s mass line campaign became a real purgatory for officials ranking high and low.
In this way, Xi has attained his secret goal of removing official despotism that he calls being divorced from the people and regards as the greatest threat to CCP’s survival. In addition, he has broken officials’ resistance to the nationwide anti-corruption campaign he was to carry out after the mass line campaign. The greatest secret goal he has achieved is the establishment of democratic supervision of officials by the masses of people. Only democratic supervision can provide long-term insurance for removal of corruption and purification of China’s official system.
Certainly, what Xi has done is but a beginning. There shall be lots more efforts to consolidate masses of people’s power of democratic supervision.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
Elimination of widespread rampant corruption needs an exceptionally wise, brave and powerful leader. The leader shall be very clearly aware of the great danger in the job. Officials exploit their power to commit corruption so that the greater the power, the more serious the corruption. Therefore, the “tigers” Xi has to catch in his fight against corruption are real tigers with sharp teeth. They are able to assassinate high officials in charge of the fight or even the leader. They may even launch a coup d’état.
However, they know the risk of the assassination and coup especially when the leader controls China’s secret police; therefore, the best way for them is to spread the rumor that the real purpose of the fight against corruption is to remove or weaken the factions not controlled by the leader so as to establish the leader’s absolute power.
It is common that there are various factions in a communist party, but especially in Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after Mao’s Cultural Revolution because those who were in a faction with substantial strength suffered less persecution and regained their positions sooner during and after the Cultural Revolution.
Usually, a high-ranking official appoints and promotes quite some officials. Those officials together with the officials they appointed and promoted form a faction due to comradeship, friendship and common interests and aspiration. When the high-ranking official has retired, he still controls the faction formed due to his influence and will interfere for the interests of his faction whenever possible if necessary.
When it comes to the decisions at a Party Congress on candidates for members of Central Committee, Politburo and its Standing Committee, Central Military Commissions and Party Secretariat and other senior posts, all the retired elders who have been dormant, will come out to take part in the bargaining behind the scene because it affects the balance of strength among various factions and concerns the interest of not only themselves but also the large number of their faction members.
The removal of a high official in a faction due to corruption may greatly weaken the faction; therefore, it will certainly vigorously resist and demand a lenient punishment or even immunity. Other factions will mostly side with the guilty official’s faction for fear that it was the leader or the anti-corruption official’s power struggle trick to weaken the factions they do not control one by one. The resistance of the alliance of those factions may become quite strong especially when it is joined by the quite strong conservative faction built up by Bo Xilai through his anti-organized crime and sing-red campaigns. That was also the cause for the difficulties in making the decision to punish Bo Xilai harshly. The decision had not been made until Jiang Zemin came to Beijing to preside over an expanded Politburo meeting on September 27, 2012.
Power struggle is corrupt officials’ best excuse in opposing Xi’s fight against corruption!
In order to succeed in his fight against corruption and for further reform, Xi visited all the powerful elders who were heads of various factions and convinced them that what he did was to save CCP instead of enabling his own faction to have dominant power over all other factions. He even showed them that he had no faction of his own and told them he would have an official with little factional background to be in charge of the fight against corruption.
His choice of Wang Qishan convinced them. Wang’s father-in-law Yao Yilin was for a time a Politburo Standing Committee member, but Yao was in charge of economy. Wang himself, though promoted by Zhu Rongji of Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction, was employed as high economic officials. Economic officials usually have little political power in CCP.
Wang seems powerful in having investigated and punished powerful officials including a retired Politburo Standing Committee member and two retired top generals, but his power comes from Xi Jinping and CCP organization. He has no troops or police under his personal control to achieve his personal goal.
Some people may wonder: How can a leader rule a party full of factions without forming his own powerful faction?
In Chinese history, forming his own faction and making it the only powerful faction was a common trap for a sovereign. It may easily cause the sovereign to be surrounded by a faction of treacherous fawning protégés who, like Heshen, corrupted Emperor Qianlong’s entire official system and blocked the channels for informers to expose their evils.
A wise sovereign shall have charisma to attract all talents around him no matter what factions they belong to. He is even able to win over talents from his enemy and make them his faithful followers. A great leader’s greatness lies first of all in his ability to discover and properly employ and delegate power to talented followers. Xi has proved his wisdom in dealing with domestic and external issues, but we still have to wait and see whether he is able to fill his Politburo Standing Committee with talents and find a competent successor.
Whether with the excuse of opposing power struggle or not, the large number of corrupt official may refuse to function like the officials did under Emperor Jiaqing’s reign or even begin national protests like Hong Kong police did against Governor MacLehose’ anti-corruption campaign.
What shall Xi Jinping do?
He gave people a huge surprise, which is a long story to be elaborated in my next article.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
China on Tuesday accused one of its former top military officers of taking “huge” bribes for promotions, as President Xi Jinping presses home a campaign against graft in the country’s vast defense establishment.
Guo Boxiong, 74, was a vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission until he stepped down in 2012. The government announced a corruption investigation into Guo last July.
In a terse statement on the Defence Ministry’s website, the military said it had handed Guo over for prosecution after investigators completed their probe into him.
“Guo Boxiong used his position to provide help for others in promotions or reassignments, and took a massive amount of bribes either directly or via his family,” it said in the statement, which was also carried by the Xinhua official news agency.
“Guo Boxiong confessed everything.”
Investigators collected a mass of evidence against him but also ensured he had access to a lawyer and read and signed off on all the transcripts of his questioning, Xinhua added.
Sources had previously told Reuters that Guo might not face prosecution as he has cancer.
His case follows that of Xu Caihou, who was also a Central Military Commission vice chairman at the same time as Guo, and died of bladder cancer in March last year. The government said in 2014 that Xu had also confessed to taking “massive” bribes in exchange for help in promotions.
Before their retirement, the men had been two of China’s top military officers who served together under Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao. Xi was also a vice chairman with Guo and Xu from 2010 to 2012, before he became party head and military commission chief.
Guo’s son, Guo Zhenggang, who is a major-general, was put under investigation in March last year.
It was not possible to reach either Guo for comment and it was not clear who their lawyers are.
Xinhua said family members and others implicated in the case would also be dealt with by the law, though it gave no details.
Guo Boxiong was a “greedy degenerate” who would get what was coming to him, the defense ministry said in an online commentary.
For over a decade, Guo sat on the Central Military Commission, in charge of the world’s largest armed force, numbering around 2.3 million, after joining the army in 1961 and rising through its ranks, according to his official biography.
In 2006 he visited the United States and met then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Serving and retired military officers have said graft in the armed forces is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war. Xi has made weeding out corruption in the military a top goal.
The drive comes as Xi steps up efforts to modernize forces that are projecting power across the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, though China has not fought a war in decades.
China intensified its crackdown on military corruption in the late 1990s, banning the People’s Liberation Army from business. But recent years have seen the military involved in commercial deals, due to a lack of checks and balances, military analysts have said.
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Source: Reuters “China accuses former top military official of taking massive bribes”
Tip of the iceberg? Underground banks siphoned 207 billion yuan out of Chinese province in just one yearPosted: January 12, 2016
At least 207 billion yuan (HK$245 billion) was channelled out of Guangdong last year in illegal money transfers – seven times as much as in 2014.
The money was sent in 83 cases of illegal transfers discovered by Guangdong security officials, with some of it being channelled to Hong Kong and Macau.
In one case a wanted corrupt official had sent 12 million yuan to Macau to use as gambling funds, Xinhua reported.
Experts warned the cases were just the tip of the iceberg, and that the depreciation of the yuan and the mainland’s anti-graft campaign would hasten the flows of illegal money.
Huang Shouying, head of economic crime investigation at the provincial public security department, said Guangdong was a national hotspot for underground banks.
Shenzhen and Zhuhai remained two of the most important locations for such activity due to their proximity to Hong Kong and Macau.
Guangdong had apprehended 231 suspects in 79 locations on suspicion of making the 83 transfers, worth 207.2 billion yuan.
Thirty-two of the 83 cases involved transfers made in Shenzhen and accounted for more than 100 billion yuan.
Deputy head of economic investigation with Guangdong police Wu Yi said 700 million yuan had been transferred by suspects acquiring foreign currency cheques from overseas businesses on the mainland.
One approach is for underground banks to get clients to deposit yuan into a mainland account, then withdraw a similar amount of foreign currency on arrival abroad.
As of 2008, more than 300 people had transferred more than 2 billion yuan in this way, Xinhua reported.
Police said underground banks charged a commission of three to five per cent from clients to channel money overseas.
In one case, Li Huabo, former section director of the finance bureau in Poyang county of Jiangxi (江西) province, had transferred 12.81 million yuan with the help of an underground bank in Foshan city of Guangdong.
Li fled to Singapore in 2011 and was extradited back to China last May after serving a 15-month jail sentence. Li was on a list of 100 fugitives published by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection last April.
Foshan case officers said the underground bank had pocketed about 30,000 yuan as commission for laundering 12.81 million yuan for Li to gamble in Macau.
Cracking down on underground banks is part of President Xi Jinping’s wide-ranging anti-graft campaign.
The illicit business is becoming more widespread as a weak yuan creates a strong demand for foreign currency.
In November, an underground banking network in Zhejiang (浙江) that had carried out illegal foreign exchange transactions worth 410 billion yuan was uncovered.
Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences professor Li Youhan said the discoveries were just the “tip of iceberg”.
The sentiment was shared by Professor Lin Jiang of Sun Yat-sen University who estimated at least 500 billion yuan had been channelled out of China last year alone and that at least half of that had come out of Guangdong.
“This was only a very conservative estimate. The reality is probably much more than this,” Lin said.
“The situation should have improved in recent years with the nation relaxing foreign currency controls, thereby providing more channels for legitimate private business to exchange foreign currency. However, we are expecting to see the crackdown against underground banking intensify due to the national anti-corruption campaign.”
Source: SCMP “Tip of the iceberg? Underground banks siphoned 207 billion yuan out of Chinese province in just one year”
China’s ruling Communist Party has listed golf and gluttony as violations for the first time as it tightens its rules to prevent officials from engaging in corrupt practices, while also turning an even sterner eye on sexual impropriety.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been driving a sweeping crackdown on deep-rooted graft since taking over the party’s leadership in late 2012. Since then dozens of senior officials have been investigated or jailed.
Tales of graft and officials’ high living, including extravagant banquets and expensive rounds on the golf course, have stirred widespread public anger because bureaucrats are meant to live on modest sums and lead morally exemplary lives.
The new rules update existing regulations and are designed to better codify what constitutes a violation of discipline, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Wednesday. They are applicable to all 88 million party members for the first time and also include a new ethical code.
“Party members must separate public and private interests, put the public’s interest first, and work selflessly,” the report said. Party members must also “champion simplicity and guard against extravagance”.
“The new discipline regulation explicitly lists extravagant eating and drinking and playing golf as violations, which were not included previously,” it said.
Explaining the new rules and underscoring golf’s negative image, the party’s corruption watchdog said on Thursday that golf was a game enjoyed by a former police chief who engaged in “massive” bribery. A vice mayor in a southeastern Chinese city was sacked this month for belonging to a golf club and playing the game when he should have been working.
IN THE ROUGH
The new rules are a blow to China’s nascent market for golf, which is often seen as providing an opportunity for officials to make shady deals and an extravagance for government employees who should be serving the people.
“In other countries golf is more about the sport, here it’s about the social interaction. If a company boss can’t play with a government official, there’s little point in him spending his money,” said the owner of a golf equipment store in Shanghai who only gave his surname as Huang.
He noted his store’s sales dropped 30-40 percent last year. “This year, things are even more dismal. With our regular revenues we can no longer make ends meet.”
Party officials who play golf have already been targeted by Xi’s crackdown. Last year, the government began more rigorously enforcing a decade-old ban on building new courses. This year, in March, the government shut down 66 golf courses.
There were more than 500 golf courses in China in 2013, according to state media reports, with up to 400,000 regular players. Clubs such as Wolong Lake and Nine Dragons host PGA Tour matches.
Golf in China is also seen as a possible growth area for foreign firms.
“We have started to look at the Asia Pacific region… China is a future, potential market, although some other markets there have higher priority,” said Fredrik Brautigam, head of sales at privately owned Sweden-based golf apparel brand Galvin Green.
“If people in China are forbidden to play golf, if that’s the case, then it (entry to the Chinese market) might be even later on our agenda.”
The R&A, golf’s ruling authority throughout the world except in the United States and Mexico, told Reuters it had no comment.
BAD FOR THE SPORT
Golf industry insiders said the strict rules for officials would be a drag on the sport’s wider development in China, with fewer courses open and people worried about being tainted by getting involved in the game.
“Golf has been labeled with a very negative image,” Jacky Peng, founder of Niceon Sport and a manager of professional Chinese golfers, told Reuters. “Without government support, it is very hard to develop such an elite sport.”
Another golf shop owner, Miss Yang, said the regulations were stalling public interest. “With golf clubs closing, people haven’t got anywhere to go. This can only reduce people’s interest and drag down spending,” she said.
Beyond golf, the new rules also mention “improper sexual relations”, broadening the scope of proscriptions that before only referred to “keeping paramours and conducting adultery”. The charge of adultery is frequently leveled at high-ranking graft suspects as a way of showing they are morally degenerate and deserve punishment.
Forming “cliques” that seek to split the party is also banned under the new regulations, along with hiding personal issues that should be reported, and abusing positions of power to seek gain for family members and staff.
While Xi has tried to improve the rule of law, the party has repeatedly refused to allow the establishment of an independent body to fight corruption. The party insists it can govern itself through its graft-busting Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
(This story was refiled to add editing credit)
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, John Ruwitch, Adam Jourdan, SHANGHAI newsroom and Olof Swahnberg in Stockholm; Editing by Paul Tait and Ian Geoghegan/Mark Heinrich)
Source: Reuters “Golf and gluttony in the rough as China tees off against graft
Reuters reports today on Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s announcement on investigation of the corruption of former president Hu Jintao’s close protégé Ling Jihua but quotes two sources with ties to the leadership as saying that Ling, who heads a party body charged with reaching out to non-Communists and holds a rank equivalent to a vice premier, may escape prosecution.
Reuters says that Xi Jinping is being fair to investigate Ling. As Xi has targeted another former president Jiang Zeming’s protégés, Xi has to investigate Ling to show that he is not targeting any specific faction.
A truely wise leader shall have vision to prevent any faction from suspecting that his punishment of any high official aims at weakening a specific faction so that his fight against corruption is but power struggle.
If the fight has been regarded as power struggle, it will give rise to a mess of political struggle in China and Xi can never succeed in eliminating rampant corruption, which may cause CCP to collapse.
In Chapter 16 “Xi Jinping Tendered His Resignation—All Elders Give Full Support for Xi Jinping Cyclone” of this blogger’s book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition, this blogger points out Xi’s difficulty in fighting corruption due to faction politics: The removal of a high official in a faction may greatly weaken it. The faction will certainly protect the official and demand a lenient punishment or even immunity. Other factions will mostly side with the faction of the guilty official for fear that it was a faction’s trick to weaken other factions one by one. The resistance of the alliance of the faction with other factions may become quite strong especially when it is joined by the quite strong conservative faction built up by Bo Xilai through his anti-organized crime and sing-red campaigns. That was also the cause for the difficulties in making the decision to punish Bo Xilai harshly. This blogger says in his book:
In order to succeed in his fight against corruption and for further reform, Xi should first of all obtain support from Jiang, the core of the CCP Dynasty and the leader of the strongest faction, who had the power similar to an emperor.
He should also win over the elders of all other factions so as to avoid encountering their resistance.
During Xi’s mysterious two-week absence, he went to all the elders to win their support in his fight against corruption and made clear to all of them that a high official of whatever faction becomes the target of his anti-corruption purely because of the official’s own corrupt crime. It has nothing to do with the power struggle to weaken the specific faction; therefore, no one shall protect the official.
As a result, Jiang Zeming took the lead not to protect his mentor’s son Bo Xilai and protégé Zhou Yongkang to show his support for Xi’s anti-corruption campaign.
With all the elders’ especially the core of leadership Jiang Zemin’s support, Xi has the freedom to punish corrupt officials no mater what factions they belong to.
Therefore, it is groundless speculation that in order not to offend Hu Jintao. Ling Jihua will not be prosecuted when Ling has been found guilty.
The following is the full text of Reuters report:
China probes former senior aide to Hu Jintao over graft
China’s ruling Communist Party announced a corruption investigation into a one-time senior aide to former president Hu Jintao on Monday, as President Xi Jinping opens another front in his sweeping battle against deep-rooted graft.
In a terse and brief statement on its website, the party’s anti-corruption watchdog said that Ling Jihua was being investigated for “suspected serious discipline violations”, the usual euphemism for graft. It gave no other details.
But two sources with ties to the leadership said that Ling, who heads a party body charged with reaching out to non-Communists and holds a rank equivalent to a vice premier, may escape prosecution.
“He is under investigation, but it does not necessarily mean he will be prosecuted,” one source with ties to the leadership told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“This is Xi Jinping being fair,” the source added, meaning that the president is keen to show his campaign will target anyone and that nobody is safe, no matter what their party affiliations.
Several allies of another former president, Jiang Zemin, have also been targeted, including former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai and former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang.
“Xi is not targeting a specific faction,” said the second source. “Hu Jintao’s men are also being investigated.”
Ling Jihua was demoted in September 2012 after sources said his son was involved in a deadly crash involving a luxury sports car.
The car, a Ferrari according to some of the sources, crashed in Beijing in March 2012 in an embarrassment for the ruling Communist Party, which is sensitive to perceptions that children of top party officials live rich, privileged lifestyles completely out of touch with the masses, the sources said.
Ling was dropped from his post as head of the party’s General Office of the Central Committee, a powerful post similar to cabinet secretary in Westminster-style governments.
He was then appointed as minister for the less influential United Front Work Department, which is in charge of co-opting non-Communists, religious groups and ethnic minorities.
As of Monday evening, Ling’s picture and biography were still on the United Front’s website, implying that despite the probe he still has his job.
It was not possible to reach him for comment and it is not clear if he has a lawyer.
Speculation about Ling’s fate had been running high after a probe into his older brother, Ling Zhengce, was announced in June, for suspected “serious discipline and law violations”.
After Ling Zhengce fell, the official Xinhua news agency noted cryptically that “having somebody in the palace won’t help”, in pointed reference to his family connections.
However, last week Ling Jinhua had a 4,000 character essay published in a major party journal, Qiushi, about the importance of maintaining unity for the country’s ethnic minorities, in which he mentioned Xi’s name at least 15 times.
China’s campaign against official corruption has intensified since Xi took over as president, with several senior government figures and state company executives in detention.
Zhou’s arrest was announced earlier this month and the government is also investigating Xu Caihou, the retired deputy head of the powerful Central Military Commission.
Source: Reuters “China probes former senior aide to Hu Jintao over graft”
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Related posts at tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com:
- China: Severe Anti-corruption Storm on the Horizon dated August 31, 2013
- Severe Anti-corruption Typhoon to Sweep Entire China dated November 15, 2013
- Anti-corruption Storm Sweeps the Top dated November 22, 2013
- China: Little Officials, Giant Corruption dated November 15, 2014
- China Sufficient Anti-corruption Awe by Punishing Zhou Yong Kang dated December 7, 2014
I describes China’s faction politics in my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements” as follows:
China’s Faction Politics
There are always various factions in CCP, but the establishment and development of factions have become vital for Chinese politicians since Mao’s Cultural Revolution because those who were in a faction with substantial strength suffered less persecution and regained their positions sooner during and after the Cultural Revolution.
As mentioned in Chapter 7, a high-ranking official usually appoints and promotes quite a lot of his people to official posts when he is in power. Those people together with the officials appointed and promoted by them are bound together by comradeship, friendship and common interests and aspiration. They become a faction led by the high-ranking official. When the high-ranking official has retired, he still has his faction under his control and thus becomes an elder with great influence. He will interfere for the interests of his faction whenever possible if necessary.
When it comes to the decisions at a Party Congress on candidates for members of Central Committee, Politburo and its Standing Committee, Central Military Commissions and Party Secretariat and other senior posts, all the retired elders who have been dormant, will come out to take part in the bargaining behind the scene because it affects the balance of strength among various factions and concerns the interest of not only them but also the large number of their faction members.
Just as described in the book, before and during the 18th Party Congress, those dormant elders were quite active and made quite a few appearances, but when there is no such grant event as the Party Congress, they all keep a low profile and seldom appear.
Therefore, it is quite unusually that recently quite a few dormant retired elders were busy making appearance.
The most prominent was former general secretary Hu Jintao. He visited Yuelu College and Hu Yaobang’s former residence respectively on April 9 and 11. Then he toured famous scenery spots Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang Ancient City. Finally on April 17, he visited Guizhou Province he was in charge of before rose to the top.
In my post “China’s Powerful Elder Former President Hu Jintao Came Out to Support Xi Jinping” on April 11, I said, “influential politician’s move must have some political intention.”
Hu’s travel obviously aimed to express his support for Xi Jinping’s mass line and anti-corruption campaigns and ambitious reform. Why?
I said, at Yuelu College, “Hu had a small entourage in accordance with Xi Jinping’s regulations and he refused to write an inscription at despite of repeated requests in accordance with Xi’s instruction that leaders shall not write inscription without central authority’s approval. He finally agreed to give his signature”.
“Therefore, the open support for Xi Jinping’s mass line campaign and anti-corruption storm by Hu Jintao, the head of the powerful Youth League faction with 8 Politburo members, gives a clear message to CYL Faction members that it is no use to complain to Hu when they are the targets of Xi’s campaign and storm. They had better behave themselves.”
Jiang Zemin, the core of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty, in addition to his praise of Xi when he met Kissinger, has made three appearances recently: He visited his niece in Shengzhen at the end of March, toured Shouxihu Lake in his hometown Yangzhou on April 19 and visited his cousin in Shanghai on April 22.
His appearances were also regarded as aiming at showing not only his support for Xi but also his good health at the advanced age of 87. It gave the signal that that those who have been touched by Xi’s campaigns had better behave themselves.
However, it seems their appearances were not simply expressing their support. There must be something great being planned, perhaps an important meeting of top leaders and powerful elders on some important issues.
Not only the two top elders respectively being the leaders of the most powerful Shanghai and CYL factions, other retired elders including Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinling, Li Changchun, He Guoqiang have all made recent appearances.
Some analysts believe that they appeared to show support for Xi or that they have not been affected Xi’s campaign, but I would rather believe that they want to show that they are healthy and strong able to take part in the coming great meeting or occasion.
Source: Chan Kai Yee “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”
Source: SCMP “Jia Qinglin joins growing parade of retired leaders”
Source: World Journal “Elders showed support for Xi Jinping: Jiang Zemin appeared in Shanghai”
- Top Elder Jiang Zeming Healthy, Vital for Xi’s Success in Reform, Fighting Corruption dated April 24, 2014
- China’s Powerful Elder Former President Hu Jintao Came Out to Support Xi Jinping dated April 11, 2014
- News Confirms Xi Jinping Chosen by Jiang Zemin as Successor to Jiang as the Core dated August 30, 2013
- Jiang Zemin, 86, Shows He Remains the Core by Punishing Bo Xilai dated October 2, 2012
The success of Xi Jinping’s fight against corruption depends on continuous incessant persistence in the fight.
In a country with prevailing rampant corruption, launching an anti-corruption typhoon is difficult but persisting in fighting corruption after the typhoon is even more difficult.
For long-term persistence in the fight, reform in China’s political and legal systems is vital.
What is Xi’s plan to follow up when the typhoon subsides?
The recent decisions Xi made on reform through the third plenum of the CCP 18th Central Committee contain the following reform for the fight.
1. He will reduce officials’ power to prevent their interference in the operation of private enterprises by reducing the formalities for establishing enterprises and allow private enterprises to do whatever business other than those within the government’s negative list.
This reform policy of management by negative list will greatly reduce officials’ power to extort businessmen for business registration or permission.
2, He will ensure fair competition, equal use of production factors, equal legal protection and further remove various kinds of administrative monopoly and unfair competition.
He will let market determine the allocation of public resources and decide prices, forbid whatever illegal preferential treatment and oppose local protectionism.
3. He will reduce government requisition of land, regulate requisition procedures and set up a mechanism to provide various protections for rural people to get reasonable compensations for their land. As a result, it will be much more difficult for officials to be illegally benefited by land grabs.
The policies in the above three items will greatly reduce officials’ power and opportunities to obtain corrupt gains and businessmen’s needs to bribe officials
4. He will use regulations and rules to control power and manage affairs and personnel and let people supervise the use of power
5. He will improve the mechanism of democratic and legal supervision and the supervision by public opinions.
6. He will improve and tighten the regulations and rules concerning financial budgets, approval and audit.
7. He will improve and strict implement the regulations and rules related to leading cadres’ relatives’ business activities, jobs as civil servants and in social organizations and emigration abroad.
8. He will improve judicial independence to prevent officials from shielding one another.
9. He will intensify inspection of officials by restructuring CCP’s discipline inspection organs.
a. He will set up permanent inspection organizations in various Party and state organs. Such organs shall be responsible to the organizations that have set up them.
b. He will reform the rules that a local discipline inspection organ is responsible to both the local government and the discipline inspection organ above it and make it mainly responsible to the organ above it in dealing with cases of corruption.
c. He will improve the inspection tour system to make such tours cover all localities, departments, enterprises and institutions.
Source: Chan Kai Yee “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements, second edition”
- China: Severe Anti-corruption Storm on the Horizon dated August 31
- China: Anti-graft Storm Begins in Earnest dated October 5
- China’s top graft buster urges ‘shock and awe’ for offenders to intensify anti-
corruption storm dated October 23
- China: Xi Jinping’s Anti-corruption Storm Sweeps Chinese Military dated November 6
- China: Xi Jinping’s Anti-corruption Storm Sweeps Shipping Industry dated November 7
- Severe Anti-corruption Typhoon to Sweep Entire China dated November 15