Tuesday, August 28, 2007

So the big news today was the rotation of Minister of Finance Jin Renqing to head the Development Research Center of the State Council. Despite the rumors, I am not entirely convinced that this was politically tinged. When I was last in Beijing in June, I heard from MOF officials then that Jin was going to step down soon as part of a regular rotation because he had served one full term and at the age of 63 cannot serve another full term as a minister. For the sake of work flow, often such a person is rotated to a non-strategic job like DRC to serve until the retirement at 65. I also heard in June that Xie Xuren was the leading candidate for the MOF job. If it's tied to a corruption scandal, I think he would have been "shuanggui"ed immediately. He had long been known as a technocrat with cordial, but not intimate, relationships with top leaders, so he could have been removed quite easily, just as Qiu Xiaohua was removed.

FT News, Education

Finance chief replaced amid sex scandal
Staff Reporters
365 words
29 August 2007
South China Morning Post
(c) 2007 South China Morning Post Publishers Limited, Hong Kong. All rights

Finance Minister Jin Renqing has been replaced abruptly after a sex scandal
snowballed to implicate several senior mainland officials, sources said.

Mr Jin had been shifted to a government think-tank and would be replaced by Xie
Xuren , director of the State Administration of Taxation, Reuters reported,
citing an announcement by the Communist Party's Organisation Department.

Its report did not give any specific reasons why Mr Jin, 63, had been
transferred to the Development Research Centre. But sources said there had been
intense speculation about the minister's career after the mainland leadership
said it was stepping up investigation of a corruption case involving Du
Shicheng, the former party secretary of Qingdao , a booming coastal city which
will host the sailing events of the 2008 Olympic Games.

In December, Mr Du was fired from his government and party posts for "serious
breaches of discipline", the party's euphemism to describe corruption and moral
lapses including keeping mistresses.

As the party's anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline
Inspection, continued its investigation, it also detained a young woman
believed to have had an intimate relationship with Mr Du.

To the shock of anti-graft officials, the woman, known as a social butterfly,
later confessed she had also had intimate relationships with several senior
government officials and some of them had abused their power to advance her
business dealings.

In June, Chen Tonghai, chairman of oil giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp
(Sinopec), was detained for corruption. Sources said the woman's confession had
prompted anti-graft officials to launch an investigation of Mr Chen but that
they focused their investigation on economic irregularities involving Mr Chen
but unrelated to the woman's case.

The woman was also believed to have implicated Mr Jin and several other senior
government officials who have important roles advising on foreign and domestic

The keeping of mistresses and dalliances with young women have been among the
main reasons for the recent sackings of senior officials.

State media has reported that the majority of government officials arrested for
corruption were accused of keeping young women as mistresses.

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