Archive for ‘corruption’


Modi Uses Independence Day Speech to Hit Out at ‘Termite-Like’ Graft – India Real Time – WSJ

At the end of a week in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to push broad measures aimed at boosting the economy through Parliament, the Indian leader sought in an Independence Day address to draw attention to his efforts to make the machinery of government more efficient and less corrupt.

In a 90-minute speech delivered from the ramparts of New Delhi’s Red Fort on Saturday, Mr. Modi didn’t focus on sweeping policy changes or big, new plans. Instead, he spoke of trying to enforce change in the Indian government bureaucracy, a system he characterized as riddled with “termite-like” graft and inertia and accustomed to inordinate delays.

“What government doesn’t make big declarations?” Mr. Modi said. “The test is whether we are able to implement the promises we make. We have stressed a new work culture.”

Under attack from political opponents who have tried to portray him as pro-business and anti-farmer, Mr. Modi didn’t once mention his “Make in India” campaign to encourage foreign and domestic investors to set up factories in India, nor did he directly address weeks of opposition protests that stalled a major tax overhaul in Parliament.

via Photos: Modi Uses Independence Day Speech to Hit Out at ‘Termite-Like’ Graft – India Real Time – WSJ.


China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters

China’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that two more former senior officers were being investigated for corruption, as part of a sweeping campaign against graft which has already felled dozens of senior people.

In a brief statement, the ministry said that Kou Tie, former commander of the Heilongjiang military region in northern China, had been put under investigation last November for suspected “serious discipline violations”. He was handed over to military prosecutors last month.

The other officer was named as Liu Zhanqi, a former communications division commander for the paramilitary People’s Armed Police, also suspected of “serious discipline violations”, common wording for corruption. He was handed to military prosecutors last month as well.

The ministry gave no further details. Neither case had been reported before.

Weeding out graft in the military is a top goal of President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls China’s 2.3 million-strong armed forces.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers have said military graft is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war, and dozens of senior officers have been taken down.

The anti-graft drive in the military 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.

via China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters.


Corruption: Not so far away | The Economist

“THE mountains are high; the emperor is far away,” goes a Chinese saying that has always given comfort to bureaucrats who play fast and loose with the law in remote parts of the country. But often, these days, distance is not enough. Those who hanker after the added protection of a foreign jurisdiction are often called “naked officials”. The term describes people who have moved families and assets abroad in readiness for escape themselves. Now, however, anti-graft officers are trying to extend their reach beyond China’s borders.

Since late last year, as part of the most intense and sustained anti-corruption drive in the history of Communist-ruled China, officials have been stepping up efforts to persuade foreign countries to send back those who have fled with their ill-gotten gains. On April 22nd they released a wanted list, together with mugshots, of 100 such people, as part of a new operation called Sky Net. The list was compiled by a Communist Party body, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), whose agents often hold suspects in secret detention and torture them. “We will apprehend them no matter where they flee to,” Fu Kui, a member of the CCDI, told state media. The operation involves other agencies such as the police, the central bank and the foreign ministry.

Among the wanted fugitives, for whom Interpol has issued arrest warrants, 48 were the most senior officials in their workplaces. One was the deputy head of a provincial construction bureau accused of fleeing to America with 250m yuan ($40m) in embezzled funds. Another was a county-level finance official who allegedly took 94m yuan to Singapore.

Officials say that Sky Net is a new phase of Operation Fox Hunt, a campaign launched by the police last year to secure the repatriation of criminals (not just the corrupt). Officials say the exercise has been a success, having secured the repatriation of 680 fugitives from 69 countries. On April 27th the state prosecutor’s office said a further 61 people suspected of “dereliction of duty” had been arrested after spending time on the run abroad. Many had turned themselves in.

But anti-corruption officials have a big problem: the 39 countries with which China has extradition treaties do not include America, Australia or Canada, which are among the favoured destinations of corrupt fugitives. China has been pressing these countries for more co-operation. After a visit to Beijing in April by Jeh Johnson, America’s secretary for homeland security, state media said America “actively” supported China’s efforts. The Americans say they have agreed to a more “streamlined” procedure for handing back Chinese nationals whom they decide to repatriate. But they insist that such cases be handled according to American law and “values”.

China says it has sent 61 agents abroad (it has not said where) to “persuade” accused fugitives to return and face justice. It has also been trying a new tactic: scaring them with horror stories. State media last month reported one fugitive in America who dared not even see a doctor, so worried was he that his identity might become known. He returned home of his own will, a broken man.

via Corruption: Not so far away | The Economist.


Why the Trial of Former Chinese Oil Executive Jiang Jiemin Matters – China Real Time Report – WSJ

A court in central China’s Hubei province today began hearing the case of Jiang Jiemin, the former chairman of China’s biggest oil company who also briefly headed a government commission that oversees state-owned firms.

Though Mr. Jiang may not be a household name, his trial marks the most senior-level prosecution of a Communist Party official in President Xi Jinping’s anticorruption drive, which has targeted both large state industries and their political backers over the past two years.

Far more important than his past role as head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission was Mr. Jiang’s previous tenure as chairman of China National Petroleum Corp. Following his appointment to that role in 2011, CNPC’s revenue rose, and it grew to rival Exxon Mobil Corp. in total market value.

Mr. Jiang was tapped to head Sasac in 2013, just as several other oil-company executives were becoming ensnared in corruption allegations or disappeared from view.

While Sasac oversees state-owned companies, in practice analysts say it is weaker than the larger, clout-wielding companies it supervises.

Mr. Jiang’s trial is being closely watched in part to see if it yields any details about the circumstances surrounding the downfall of Zhou Yongkang, the country’s granite-faced former security chief, who was formally charged with bribery and abuse of power earlier this month. Mr. Jiang had risen through the ranks of the country’s oil industry under Mr. Zhou.

It is also being watched for further details of corruption investigations involving other politicians and officials in the country’s oil industry, a key target for Mr. Xi’s campaign. The trial began at 8:30 a.m. Monday and was announced in a brief notice on the Hubei Hanjiang Intermediate People’s Court Weibo account. Without elaborating, the court said Mr. Jiang faces charges in connection to bribe-taking, holding a large amount of property that came from unidentified sources and abuse of power.

The court said Mr. Jiang has a lawyer and didn’t object to the charges that include taking bribes, holding assets from unexplained sources and abusing his power.

Like Mr. Jiang, Mr. Zhou had previously served as the head of CNPC. A wide network of Mr. Zhou’s acquaintances and family members have been caught up in a far-flung investigation involving deals in areas where Mr. Zhou oversaw power, involving deals worth tens of millions or more.

Officials of Mr. Zhou’s standing have traditionally been considered off limits, but under Mr. Xi, that is changing.

Mr. Zhou is expected to face trial as are other associates, including Li Chuncheng, former deputy party secretary of Sichuan, who worked under Mr. Zhou from 1999-2002

via Why the Trial of Former Chinese Oil Executive Jiang Jiemin Matters – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


Zhou Yongkang Charges Come As Xi Jinping’s Anti-Corruption Campaign Hits Snags – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Former Chinese security czar Zhou Yongkang has now been formally charged with bribery and abuse of power, in what appears to be yet another triumph in President Xi Jinping’s strategy to go after “tigers and flies”— in Chinese political parlance, both senior leaders and junior officials.

By all accounts, the hunting and the swatting have been a major success for Xi. The effort appears to be both popular and effective. For Xi, it has the added benefit of consolidating his political command.

That’s the good news.

But Zhou’s prosecution is coming at an important moment for the anticorruption campaign. A number of signs suggest that Xi’s strategy is beginning to show its age. Specifically, it appears Xi and his supporters are having an increasingly difficult time selling the idea that Beijing’s current approach is successfully rooting out the corruption that too often plagues Chinese politics.

First, there’s the fall-off in high-profile news coverage of cadres caught being bad. China’s state-controlled media still runs stories of officials who are being investigated for possible criminal conduct, as with allegations of bribery in the Chongqing city works department and claims of graft committed by a deputy director at the main television network in Anhui province.  But the focus in recent weeks has been on the identification and extradition of allegedly corrupt Chinese officials who have fled overseas. By broadcasting about those who are hiding abroad, Beijing is trying to pivot away from the persistence of graft at home. Indeed, the more cadres that are caught in-country, the more intractable the problem of corruption has to appear.

Then there’s the growing coverage in China’s state media of “maintaining political discipline”—code words for both party unity and getting cadres to conduct themselves according to rules and regulations set by the leadership.  That emphasis underscores the alternative view of some Communist party members that Beijing should rethink the way it trains and promotes cadres, rather than constantly supervising and occasionally punishing them. This conversation is taking place across major party publications, illustrating indecision in some quarters about which weapons the government should be wielding in the war on graft.

Xi’s supporters have also been forced on the defensive by the argument that the anticorruption campaign is having a deleterious effect on an already slowing national economy.  A recent essay that appeared in the Communist party’s flagship newspaper People’s Daily and various affiliated outlets argued that this “misconception needed clarification,” and went on to insist that “the anticorruption effort isn’t an obstacle but a way to smooth the path of economic development by removing inefficiencies and thereby provide positive energy,” especially in the realm of public opinion.

Even anticorruption czar Wang Qishan has had to come out in the past few days to defend the effort to go after “tigers and flies,” urging more grassroots efforts to identify corrupt officials and asking for patience from the public and fellow party members because, he insisted, “changing the political ethos is not achieved overnight.”

If Xi and his allies were in complete control of the anticorruption narrative, there’d be little need to have to counter criticism of Beijing’s current strategy.

It isn’t clear how this announcement about Zhou will end up playing out in the party ranks. If the formal charges against Zhou help to revitalize Xi’s anticorruption campaign, the strategy of striking hard will reinforce the sense that Xi is still on the right path. But to some cadres who want more accountability and party reform instead of political revenge, it may read like old news.

via Zhou Yongkang Charges Come As Xi Jinping’s Anti-Corruption Campaign Hits Snags – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


China corruption: Nanjing mayor jailed for 15 years – BBC News

The former mayor of the Chinese city of Nanjing, Ji Jianye, has been jailed for 15 years for corruption.

Ji Jianye in Nanjing, China (March 2013)

The court in Yantai found Ji guilty of accepting 11.3m yuan ($1.9m; £1.2m) in bribes between 1999 and 2013, when he was dismissed.

As mayor he was nicknamed “Bulldozer” for his heavy promotion of construction and redevelopment in Nanjing.

Ji is the latest high profile official to be jailed under President Xi Jinping‘s corruption crackdown.

The court said in a statement that it had been “lenient in meting out punishment, as Ji admitted his guilt and showed repentance”.

Ji assumed the powerful role of mayor of Nanjing in 2010. The city is the capital of Jiangsu province and home to about seven million people.

In January 2013 he was placed under investigation suspected of “severe violations of disciplines and laws”. He was arrested and expelled from the ruling Communist Party last year.

via China corruption: Nanjing mayor jailed for 15 years – BBC News.


China to prosecute former top parliament body official for graft | Reuters

China will prosecute a former vice-chairman of China’s top parliamentary advisory body for graft, including taking bribes and selling “ranks and titles”, the government said on Monday, the latest senior figure to fall in a deepening anti-corruption campaign.

Su Rong attends a group discussion during the National People's Congress in Beijing March 6, 2012.  REUTERS/Stringer

Su Rong had been one of the 23 vice-chairmen of the largely ceremonial but high-profile Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference until authorities began an investigation last year.

Su abused his power over personnel appointments and the operation of unidentified companies and took “an enormous amount of bribes”, said the ruling Communist Party’s graft-fighting Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

He “abused his power and caused great losses to state assets”, it said in a statement, without providing details.

“As a senior party official, Su Rong disregarded the party’s political rules … wantonly sold ranks and titles, led the official ranks astray and damaged the atmosphere in society,” the statement said.

His influence was “abominable” and he had been officially stripped of his title and expelled from the party, it said.

Details of Su’s case have been handed to judicial authorities, it said, and he will face prosecution in court.

Su previously served as Communist Party boss for the poor inland provinces of Jiangxi and Gansu.

Chinese media ha

via China to prosecute former top parliament body official for graft | Reuters.


Military corruption: Rank and vile | The Economist

SO EXTENSIVE was the stash of jade, gold and cash found in the basement of General Xu Caihou’s mansion in Beijing that at least ten lorries were needed to haul it away, according to the Chinese press last October. Given General Xu’s recent retirement as the highest ranking uniformed officer in the armed forces, this was astonishing news. General Xu, the media said, had accepted “extremely large” bribes, for which he now faces trial. It will be the first of such an exalted military figure since the Communist Party came to power in 1949.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—as the Chinese army, navy and air force are collectively known—has not fought a war for 35 years. But the world’s largest fighting force is now engaged in a fierce battle at home against corrosion within its ranks.

Xi Jinping, China’s president (pictured, pointing), has taken his sweeping anti-corruption campaign into the heart of the PLA, seemingly unafraid to show that a hallowed institution is also deeply flawed. In January the PLA took the unprecedented step of revealing that 15 generals and another senior officer were under investigation or awaiting trial. It said it would launch a stringent review of recruitment, promotions, procurements and all of its financial dealings in order to root out corruption.

One reason Mr Xi is keen to clean up the army is to ensure that it remains a bulwark of party rule. The PLA is the party’s armed wing—its soldiers swear allegiance to it rather than the people or the country. All officers are party members and each company is commanded jointly by an officer in charge of military affairs and another whose job it is to ensure troops toe the party line. Mr Xi has repeatedly stressed the party’s “absolute leadership” over the PLA. His definition of a “strong army” puts “obedience to the party’s commands” before “capability of winning wars”.

via Military corruption: Rank and vile | The Economist.


Top Chinese Company Bosses Try to Atone After Bribery Allegations – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Acts of contrition allow disciples of the Roman Catholic Church to atone for their sins. Something similar may be saving souls in China’s Communist Party.

Mobile phone company China Unicom acknowledged findings published Thursday by the party’s official anti-graft agency that salacious acts of corruption gushed from its corporate suite, including abuse of power and bribery with sex as the currency.

Similar allegations have toppled government officials and corporate executives across China in the past two years, reflecting President Xi Jinping’s pledge that the party faithful will “remain resolute in wiping out corruption and show zero tolerance for it.”

Yet no one appears to be facing public reprimand at Unicom and a clutch of other state-run companies and government bureaus that the party this week accused of party discipline problems.

It’s unclear whether the fact no one is being publicly fingered for the problems atop key state-run companies suggests the party is satisfied the public shaming is enough punishment or whether it’s lightening its approach to violations. But what’s clear is the officials running the businesses have spent time in the party’s version of a confessional booth

The fresh allegations against powerful state-run organizations were published late Thursday by the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which it said were the result of a round of investigations that began in November. Similar probes of state-run companies and government bureaus have continued regularly since Mr. Xi rose to power at the 18th Party Congress in late 2012. The commission last month said that an inspection of all top state-owned enterprises will be among its priorities for this year.

In addition to catalogue of problems at Unicom, the inspections found top officials at coal giant China Shenhua Energy Co. abused market power to gain “black gold,” leaders of China State Shipbuilding Corp. did illegal business and relatives of top cadres engaged in similar malfeasance at carmaker Dongfang Motor Corp. As well, the inspectors said they unearthed buying and selling of positions at power generator China Huadian Corp., as well as poor controls that caused loss of state secrets. The inspectors likewise cited discipline failings at state broadcaster China Radio International.

The anti-graft agency’s statements on each organization quoted their Communist Party leaders, including Unicom Chairman Chang Xiaobing, expressing contrition about failings at their groups and pledging to rectify the problems. The statements about the individual companies each include photos of top company officers in boardrooms discussing the findings and meeting with employees to address the problems. The statements quote officials pledging to honor Mr. Xi’s principles of party discipline.

via Top Chinese Company Bosses Try to Atone After Bribery Allegations – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


China’s Antigraft Drive Turns to Financial Sector – China Real Time Report – WSJ

President Xi Jinping’s two-year antigraft campaign is hitting China’s vast financial sector, according to officials with knowledge of the matter, after investigators began questioning a senior executive at a major bank over his political ties and a board member at a second lender regarding possible corruption. As the WSJ’s Lingling Wei reports:

Mao Xiaofeng, until recently a rising star at China Minsheng Banking Corp. , resigned as president for “personal reasons,” Minsheng said on Saturday. Chinese anticorruption officials are questioning Mr. Mao over his ties to a former top Chinese Communist Party official, Ling Jihua, who is himself being investigated by graft inspectors, according to an official at one of China’s financial regulatory agencies.

And late Monday nightBank of Beijing Co. said that Lu Haijun, a board member, is being investigated over “possible serious violations” of party discipline—a euphemism for corruption among Chinese officials. A statement the bank posted on the Shanghai Stock Exchange said its operations aren’t affected by the probe.

via China’s Antigraft Drive Turns to Financial Sector – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 616 other followers