Archive for ‘corruption’

14/04/2015

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.

07/04/2015

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.

07/04/2015

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.

16/02/2015

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.

14/02/2015

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.

06/02/2015

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.

03/02/2015

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.

31/01/2015

China expels top police official from Communist Party | Reuters

Fast and furious, the anti-corruption campaign continues to run.

“A top police official under investigation for corruption has been expelled from China’s ruling Communist Party, the country’s top anti-graft body said on Friday.

State media said Cai Guangliao holds the rank of major general in the paramilitary armed police, which is under the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC). He was first placed under investigation last year on suspicion of violating party discipline, a euphemism for corruption.

A statement from the anti-corruption agency said Cai took advantage of his position to seek benefits for others and accepted bribes, illegally engaging in business activities and accepting gifts of money and valuables.

His case has been transferred to the judicial system, the statement said.”

via China expels top police official from Communist Party | Reuters.

19/12/2014

Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post

The former deputy chief of China’s Beijing Zoo – who claimed his 8 million yuan (about HK$10 million) fortune was earned from part-time jobs, including working as a taxi driver – was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Beijing court this morning.

Xiao Shaoxiang was jailed for life today after being found guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”. Photo: Xinhua

The Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court found Xiao Shaoxiang guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”.

All his personal property would be confiscated, the Beijing-based newspaper, Mirror, reported on its official mainland microblogging Weibo website.

Prosecutors said six million yuan in cash, paintings and gold bullion from unknown sources were found in Xiao’s apartment – a cache worth a total of 8 million yuan, the court said during his trial in August.

He was charged with accepting bribes totalling more than 140 million yuan.

Xiao, 59, had denied all the charges during the trial.

He had defended himself by claiming that he had earned the money from moonlighting as an unlicensed cab driver after work at the zoo from 1991 to 1994.

via Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post.

16/12/2014

China jails businesswoman in railway graft case for 20 years | Reuters

A court in China sentenced a well-known businesswoman to 20 years in jail for corruption on Tuesday, saying the woman with ties to a disgraced former railways minister was guilty of bribery and illegally running a business.

Ding Yuxin, also known as Ding Shumiao, helped 23 businesses win railway construction contracts and funnelled 49 million yuan (£5 million) worth of kickbacks to former railways minister Liu Zhijun, state media has previously reported.

She also “offered sexual favours to Liu by arranging an unidentified number of women for him”, the official China Daily reported last year.

In a brief statement on its microblog, a Beijing court said the evidence in the case against her was clear, ordering she also pay a fine of 2.5 billion yuan and have assets worth 20 million yuan confiscated.

It gave no other details.

via China jails businesswoman in railway graft case for 20 years | Reuters.

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