Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, January 27, 2014

Don't even talk about it!

No wonder the Chinese government is worried about investigative journalists. They report things that are inconvenient for the Communist (with Chinese characteristics) Party. And those things might be true.

China Condemns Report on Elite's 'Hidden' Wealth, Censors Discussion
The Chinese government condemned on Wednesday a report on the wealth of the country's elite being hidden in overseas tax havens as illogical and having ulterior motives, as the government blocked websites and censored mention of the story online.

The report, the result of an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, was published in newspapers, including Britain's Guardian and Spain's El Pais

Neither the State Council Information Office, which is the Cabinet's news office, nor the Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog responded to requests for comment…

Public discussion of elite politics, and scandals surrounding top leaders and their family members, is taboo in China, with the stability obsessed ruling Communist Party fearing anything which could affect the public's faith in its rule.

The issue of the wealth of the elite is even more sensitive, even as President Xi embarks upon a crackdown on pervasive corruption.

China has arrested at least 20 activists who have campaigned for officials to publicly disclose their wealth, the most prominent of whom went on trial in Beijing on Wednesday under tight security.

China's princelings storing riches in Caribbean offshore haven
More than a dozen family members of China's top political and military leaders are making use of offshore companies based in the British Virgin Islands, leaked financial documents reveal.

The brother-in-law of China's current president, Xi Jinping, as well as the son and son-in-law of former premier Wen Jiabao are among the political relations making use of the offshore havens, financial records show…

The disclosure of China's use of secretive financial structures is the latest revelation from "Offshore Secrets", a two-year reporting effort led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained more than 200 gigabytes of leaked financial data from two companies in the British Virgin Islands…

In all, the ICIJ data reveals more than 21,000 clients from mainland China and Hong Kong have made use of offshore havens in the Caribbean, adding to mounting scrutiny of the wealth and power amassed by family members of the country's inner circle…

Between $1tn and $4tn in untraced assets have left China since 2000, according to estimates…

China's political elite were not the only individuals taking advantage of the BVI's offshore anonymity. At least 16 of China's richest people, with a combined estimated net worth in excess of $45bn, were found to have connections with companies based in the jurisdiction…

See also: Offshore assets of China's elite revealed in leaked records

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