Thursday, August 24, 2006

The litany of corrupt official is increasing around China, but after the fall of Beijing vice mayor Liu Zhihua, we are left with the interesting development in Shanghai, where the head of the social security bureau Zhu Junyi was arrested. This was followed by the arrest of Wang Chengming, the chairman of the Hong Kong listed Shanghai Electric. In the middle of July, the CDIC, the center's main anti corruption watchdog, sent a special team to Shanghai to investigate the case. They are currenlty holed up in a Shanghai hotel steep in investigation.

Apparently, these two officials were responsible for mobilizing state assets to benefit privately owned Fuxi Investment, as well as their own careers. First, Zhu Junyi "invested" 3.2 billion RMB in social security funds (against regulations, I may add) in Fuxi Investment. Fuxi then used the funds to lease the Shanghai-Hangzhou railroad for 30 years. It used the other part of the money to overbid on 11% share of Shanghai Electric, thereby giving Wang Chengming the "accomplishment" of selling state assets at a high price.

So, all this is pretty "normal meal" by today's standard. In fact, the head of Fuxi, Zhang Rongkun, seems like a pretty shrewd businessman, and his investment in the Shanghai-Hangzhou railroad is almost sure to make a handsome profit, which means that Shanghai Social Security also would have netted a profit as a major shareholder. But it is noteworthy that this is the first major corruption case to surface in Shanghai since the 80s. Even the Zhou Zhengyi case resulted only in the arrest of a few minor banking officials. Also, the facts of this case seem pretty straight-forward, so why is the central investigation team still in Shanghai. This is surely making the Shanghai leadership quite nervous. Chen Liangyu has already held several meetings in the Shanghai government to emphasize the importance of clean government and the evil of corruption. If the CDIC team manages to "flip" Zhu and Wang Jack Mccoy style and make them into major witnesses in investigations against even more senior officials, we will soon see the complete collapse of the Shanghai "kingdom." Theere is even some rumor that Zhang Rongkun was close to Vice Premier Huang Ju's wife. At this desperate hour, we will see whether Jiang's camp has yet more political resources up its sleeves. The PUblication of Jiang's collected works surely reminds Hu Jintao that anti corruption in Shanghai cannot go too far, or the entire regime would suffer a great loss of legitimacy. Will Hu back off, or will he feel confident enough to call Jiang's bluff.

good points
the ccp could not reduce the corruption. reason is:
the power is not seperate like 3 arms in western countries. say, who is going to be hu jing tao's watch dog?
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