Fugitive billionaire’s corruption claim of questionable significance


Top politics and current affairs news for April 17, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "‘Swords drawn’ over North Korea."

The New York Times has investigated (paywall) claims made by Miles Kwok — aka Guo Wengui 郭文贵, the billionaire fugitive from China currently living in the U.S. — that high-level corruption in China extends to the very top of the last Politburo Standing Committee, but was unable to confirm Guo’s claims, which were provided without evidence. See Times reporter Mike Forsythe’s description of how he looked into Guo’s accusations here on Twitter. Guo disappeared from public view in 2015 after a series of business disputes, only to emerge earlier this year in a three-hour-long interview with U.S.-based Chinese media site Mingjing. In the interview, he alleged that He Jintao 贺锦涛, the son of He Guoqiang 贺国强, who led China’s anti-corruption operations from 2007 to 2012, had abused his position of power in a business dealing with Guo, but gave no specifics.

The Chinese political observation blog Politics from the Provinces had a well-laid-out and cynical response to the accusations. It says, in part, “If He ends up under investigation, would his takedown mean anything in present Chinese politics? … Chinese officials already know that the anti-corruption campaign is real and that it’s been targeting every level of officialdom. Local officials in particular spend almost as much time looking over their shoulders for inspection teams as they do trying to make policy.” It is no secret, the blog argues, that elite politicians have used their power for personal benefit in China, and furthermore, it has already been shown that the anti-corruption drive is more than just politically motivated: “Every official is vulnerable,” including those in the He family.