Wednesday, 14 November 2012

When Cultivating Guanxi Fails

The Ferrari crash that killed Ling Jihua's son and his political rise
One man who was gunning for one of the coveted spots in the Politburo Standing Committee was Ling Jihua, President Hu Jintao's former top aide.

But then his son Ling Gu screwed his chances in the early hours of March 18 when he lost control of his black Ferrari on Beijing's North Fourth Ring Road and slammed into a wall. He was found dead on the scene, half naked, while the two other female companions, both ethnic minorities, one naked the other semi clothed. They were seriously injured and one died later.

The incident was hushed for several months and then in early September Ling Jihua was removed from his top aide post to become head of the United Front Work Department, which is considered a symbolic post.

Now it has been revealed that Jiang Jiemin, chairman of China National Petroleum Corp helped transfer tens of millions of yuan out of CNPC to the families of the two female victims.

There are questions of how Jiang was able to do this without any accountability or documentation, and why regulators, including the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission did not know about this transaction.

At the time Jiang was trying to help Ling cover up the accident, by paying the victims' families from leaking the news to the public. Jiang was hoping that Ling, who was then head of the powerful General Office of the party's Central Committee, would be of help later on in his career and was trying to build some guanxi.

However, when Ling was transferred to the new post, this did not help Jiang at all.

Investigators soon traced the money back to the CNPC which could have explained why Jiang was not seen in public for a few months. Some even thought Jiang had fled the country. There are also reports he was suffering from chronic eye disease at the time.

In any event Jiang is still head of the CNPC, but who knows for how much longer. So while it pays to be helpful, you still have to be careful who you lend a hand to.

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