VSChinese President Xi Jinping’s campaign for common prosperity wantsredistribute wealth, but the past of the party’s top leaders is surrounded by layers of corrupt deals and massive personal fortunes.
In the world of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), there are winners and losers, and roulette corruption is rampant within the party.
Xis Qi Qiaoqiao’s sister and her husband Deng Jiagui are thethe ownersof Beijing Central People’s Trust Real Estate Development Corporation Ltd.givenbest land by local authorities to solicit favors from Xi Jinping. Xis’ brother-in-law Deng Jiagui was mentioned in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) s2014reporton the offshore accounts of Chinese elites.
According to the real estate registration, Xisfamily owns a million dollarsgoods at the Braemar Hill Garden in Hong Kong, registered as Sister Qis.
In 2012,Bloombergrevealed that Xis’ extended family had total assets worth $ 376 million, which included an 18% stake in provincial group Jiangxi Rare Earth and Rare Metals Tungsten Group. But none of those assets were attributed directly to Xi Jinping or his wife, Peng Liyuan.
in 2014,The New York Timesreported, citing Chinese records, that Xi Jinping had forced his extended family to sell their property. Xis sister and brother in lawmovedtheir assets in Qinchuan Dadi Investment Company but have not sold most of their valuable assets.
The party is also waging a campaign against celebrities of foreign nationality, but Xis owns family would have several foreign permanent residents and passport holders.
Read also : Does Xi bring back the Cultural Revolution from Maos? Much debate on the common prosperity goal
New book shines a light on the party
Xi’s obscure affairs are shrouded in mystery, even as other members of the Politburo Standing Committee have their fair share of a questionable past.
Han Zheng was promoted to party secretary in Shanghai after a scandal brought down Chen Liangyu. A few months after the office started, the party discovered that Han Zheng had hidden $ 20 million in an Australian bank, according to Desmond Shums’ book, Red Roulette: An Insider’s Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption and Revenge in China Today.
The book reveals the intertwined relationship between corruption and high politics in China. Shum and his wife Whitney Duan defended theguanximodel of using personal relationships to research access and commercial contracts.
The party tried to avoid another scandal by replacing Han with Xi Jinping. Han managed to evade action and rose to the rank of a member of the Politburos Standing Committee, a position he still holds. Han got closer to Xi Jinping after being his deputy in Shanghai.
In 2012,New York Timescorrespondent David Barboza has broken an exclusivestoryon the family fortune of former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabaos amounting to $ 2.7 billion, allegedly concealed under the name of Wens’ mother, Yang Zhiyun.
Shum takes issue with Barbozas’ claims that he and his wife made their fortunes through their dealings with the Wen Jiabaos family, in particular through the purchase of shares in Hong Kong-listed state-owned Ping Ans. Shum claims Jiabao Wen was unaware of his family’s business dealings and expressed outrage when the scandal erupted in 2012.
Li Zhanshu is another party leader who has focused on his family’s affairs.
Li Zhanshu and his business connections are said to have played a crucial role in promoting Hong Kong’s national security law.reportedTheNew York Times.
Read also : National Security or China Inc? Xi attacks global dreams of local businesses
Xi Jinping’s strategy
In China, officials never reveal their ambitions in public. Biding one’s time is a key tenant of Sun TzusArt of war, Shum writes in his book about the strategy adopted by ambitious leaders like Xi Jinping.
Maintaining a level of secrecy around its trade relations and its ambitions is considered virtuous by the Chinese leaders.
This is the code that Bo Xilai broke when he staked his name for the title of the next CCP general secretary from 2007. Bo and Xi are both sons of the two Communist Party immortals, a term used for designate the veteran leaders who fought alongside Mao Zedong against the nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-Shek.
Bo organized the Chongqing model to fight growing corruption when he was party secretary of the municipality.
But Bos’s fortunes deteriorated following ascandal involving the death of US citizen Neil Heywood. Bo was sentenced to life in prison. Wen Jiabao supported Xi Jinping and made way for his rise to power.
Bos’s flamboyant mix with the media was radically different from Xis’ cautious behind-the-scenes political maneuvering that made the latter the current top leader of China.
The anti-corruption campaign was Xis’ favorite tool with the help of Zhao Leji to dismantle any opposition.
As Xis’s bribery campaign unfolded, I finally concluded that it was more about burying potential rivals than rooting out embezzlement. Xi had previously played a role in locking up his compatriot, Bo Xilai. He followed this by imprisoning Bos’s ally on the Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, writes Shum in Red roulette.
Strict media control and increasingly restricted access by foreign journalists to Chinese leaders has made it difficult to report on corruption at the highest levels of the party.
The author is a freelance columnist and journalist. He was previously a Chinese media reporter for the BBC World Service. He tweets @aadilbrar. Opinions are personal.
(Edited by Prashant)
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