Thursday, 6 April 2017

Flies Caught in Xi's Anti-Corruption Trap

Was the two sessions the last time Li Keqiang will speak directly to the media?
When I met up with my two friends in Beijing, we talked about the "two sessions", the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and National People's Congress that ended recently.

One friend who reported on it, pointed out that when Premier Li Keqiang ended his annual press conference, he thanked the massive room of reporters, and said, "Maybe see you next year if I have the chance".

Many believe that Li may be shuffled out of his job next year, when five people will be replaced in the Standing Committee of the Politburo. There's also talk that Li and President Xi did not see eye-to-eye on things, possibly because the two were originally in the race for the top job which Xi won.

Xi Jinping seems to be amassing even more power
Not only did Xi take over more control of the economy, which is usually the duties of the premier, but also the two seemed to contradict each other in making announcements.

Then the conversation quickly shifted to Xi's anti-corruption campaign and how Wang Qishan who is spearheading this very long campaign should really be retiring at 68, but there is speculation Xi is keeping him on because Wang is doing such a good job.

That reporter friend said that the anti-corruption campaign hasn't just affected the big guys or "tigers", but even people her parents know. Her mother is a doctor who works in a hospital in her hometown of Lanzhou, and one of her friends was convicted of giving bribes of around 200,000 kuai (US$29,000), but in reality was more than that.

"He was sentenced to eight years in jail. Usually for sentences like this they do four years in prison and then they are let out, but he has to serve the entire eight years," she said.

The other friend said her mother works at a university in Shandong and her friend who was a dean of a department had misappropriated funds earmarked for the university and used it to set up a company instead.

Is Xi keeping on Wang Qishan to stamp out more corruption?
This dean was also sent to jail, but when I asked for how long, she said no one knew, but everyone knew this person was definitely in jail.

The second friend added that one of her husband's bosses committed suicide about a year ago in the office. He was one of the senior managers whose office had a shower in it and he hung himself from there...

While he wasn't the one in trouble, he was asked to give evidence and we speculated perhaps he knew too much, or would be implicated himself, or he didn't want to get his family into trouble.

Because once you kill yourself, the investigation into you ends, and then your family is safe.

It's just interesting that corruption cases used to be incidents that were reported in the news, but now they are affecting people at the ordinary level -- people who know others who were caught.

Many believe this exercise is a way for Xi to get rid of his enemies. Perhaps it's another kind of "cultural revolution", but an economic kind...

No comments:

Post a Comment