Faced with the corruption that has characterized many leaders of the Chinese regime, the Xi Jinping regime issued new rules to restrict the participation of their spouses and children as accomplices in these possible crimes.
As reported by Sup China, there are countless cases of family corruption, in which relatives seek personal benefit through their business and government connections.
Although the Chinese regime has been proclaiming for decades that it persecutes corrupt officials, no effective strategies have been implemented against this social evil, which impoverishes the nation.
Moreover, these provisions, it seems, only redistribute positions among officials so they can take advantage of the continued plundering of public resources.
Thus, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) policies seem to encourage this behavior among its officials at all levels of public administration without practical solutions.
According to the new legislation, officials must report the business activities of their spouses and children, and those who fail to do so or try to circumvent the rules will have to withdraw from their enterprises.
In other cases, Reuters reported that officials would have to resign from their current positions, “accept work adjustments,” and face different forms of punishment.
The website of the Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) published several cases of corruption in state-owned enterprises in which relatives of the directors were found to be involved. Some offenses were false transactions, collusion in bidding, and irregular awarding of projects.
Given that there were already rules limiting these crimes, the new legislation is, for some analysts, more of an instrument that increases the power of the top leader, Xi Jinping, to purge his opponents while improving the position of his allies.
“As Xi’s corruption campaign played out, I finally concluded that it was more about burying potential rivals than about stamping out malfeasance,” writes author Desmond Shum, in his book Red Roulette: The Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption and Revenge in Today’s China.
He adds, “Xi had already played a role in locking up his fellow princeling, Bo Xilai. He followed that by jailing Bo’s ally on the Standing Committee of the Politburo, Zhou Yongkang.”
It also recalls that the tight control of the media and the limited access of foreign journalists to Chinese leaders has made it difficult to report on corruption in the upper echelons of the party.
The CCDI pointed at its fourth plenary session in early 2020 to senior former Party officials who fell foul of family corruption. They included Zhōu Yǒngkāng 周永康; the first Politburo Standing Committee member, Bó Xīlái 薄熙来, the controversial former Party secretary of Chongqing, and Líng Jìhuà 令计划, formerly a close advisor to former President Hu Jǐntāo 胡锦涛.
Notably, the CCDI was, at the time, headed by Wang Qishan, a longtime ally of Xi, and China’s current vice president, since 2018. Previously, he had been mayor of Beijing.
An old tradition among members of the ‘Red Aristocracy’
Opening to Western capitalist practices opened the doors to the riches with which the “princelings” filled their coffers. Among whom are the descendants of the CCP leaders revered as the “eight immortals.”
The children of veteran communists who held high-ranking offices in China before 1966, the first year of the Cultural Revolution, are commonly called “princelings.” according to The Diplomat’s concept.
From a certain point of view, this irregular distribution of wealth was in itself an unlawful way of acquiring it, in the absence of a democratic vote to legalize it.
To get an idea of the staggering wealth in 2011, the 70 wealthiest members of China’s National People’s Congress were worth $89.8 billion net—an increase of $11.5 billion over 2010.
This figure is even more outrageous than the $7.5 billion net worth of the 660 highest-ranking members of the three branches of the U.S. government, according to Insider in 2012, citing a Hurun report.
Today, the situation is not much different, given that China’s parliament has about 100 billionaires. Moreover, the country has the highest number of billionaires in the world. There were 1,133 in total in 2017 alone.
No wonder families are involved in enrichment activities. “The fact that some of China’s most politically well-connected families are implicated suggests that they are as worried about the safety and anonymity of their assets as many others,” said Professor Dali Yang, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, in March.
The “princelings” distributed positions of power within politics, the armed forces, and the country’s economic activities. The latter group has been the least controlled by the CCP’s purges.
Millions of officials were investigated for corruption during the last decades, predominantly linked to the military and political spheres and not so much to business activities.
It is to be considered that the gigantic state machinery links the political elites, a corps of some 500,000 high-ranking officials.
It also employs 50 million bureaucrats, as mentioned by Yuen Yuen Ang, author of the book China’s Golden Age—The Paradox of Economic Boom and Corruption.
Among them are capitalist cronies who bribe politicians to make deals. These are usually private sector bosses who are appointed directly by the CCP. At least 1,500,000 officials were reportedly disciplined between 2012 and 2017, according to PolyMatter.
Xi Jinping’s biggest rival
The prominent participation of the “princelings” in the country’s major companies and the CCP’s “state capitalist” economy is striking.
It seems that the new rules allude more precisely to these powerful descendants of the “red aristocracy,” who could potentially jeopardize the third term of office towards which the leader of the Chinese regime, Xi Jinping, is heading.
Several analysts agree with the assessment that Xi’s greatest rival is the former CCP Secretary and former President, Jiang Zemin, who, at 95 years of age, has a strong network of contacts within the Chinese regime. He is based in Shanghai. The group of his followers is called “the Shanghai gang.”
“… it is the princelings of the Jiang faction that hold sway in the big businesses across China.” says author and professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, B. R. Deepak.
He adds: “It is perhaps owing to the fear of “financial coups” that Xi Jinping is tightening the noose around the Shanghai clique.”
Not for nothing have the most fierce crackdowns of the “Zero-Covid” campaign focused on this major city, second only to Beijing. It is also the country’s financial center.
Given this circumstance, Jiang’s influence extends to the influential stock markets of world banking, especially those operating on Wall Street. Thus, from the international arena, these entities tend to attack Xi, apparently because of Jiang’s influence.
Given these circumstances, Xi’s candidacy for a new five-year term in charge of the country continues to cause great uncertainty, despite the immense power he accumulates and the scrupulous persecution of his possible rivals.
The strict censorship does not allow divulging the reality of the internal situation of the CCP. However, a dissident and retired professor of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Cai Xia, comments: “Outwardly the party appears unified, but underneath there are turbulent undercurrents.”