China in the Paradise Papers
UPDATE: This post has been changed to correct a mistake that listed relatives of Chinese officials named in the 2016 Panama Papers as also being in the Paradise Papers.
On November 5, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published the Paradise Papers, a massive database of leaks from Appleby, a law firm that specializes in setting up offshore companies. These are often in tax-free island nations, hence the moniker “Paradise.”
- Although it is not a crime to own an offshore company in most countries, common uses of such legal entities are tax avoidance and hiding ownership of assets.
- Companies included in the Paradise Papers include Apple, Facebook, Uber, and Nike, while individuals named or related to those named include Queen Elizabeth II of England, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, pop star Bono, and South African President Jacob Zuma.
- “Many of the names mentioned are from China and Hong Kong”, according to the Guardian, but there are no senior officials named in any media reports yet.
- The 2016 Panama Papers, a similar leak of data about offshore financial activities, named relatives of Xi Jinping 习近平 and Jia Qinglin 贾庆林. Li Xiaolin 李小琳, the daughter of former premier Li Peng 李鹏, who has herself held several official positions, was also included.
- The Xi Jinping relative in the Panama Papers was Deng Jiagui 邓家贵, who was also in Bloomberg’s 2012 report (paywall) on the wealth of Xi’s family members.
Another step forward for China’s alternative to GPS
China has launched a new type of Beidou-3 navigational satellites, which the South China Morning Post calls “part of efforts to expand the global reach of its rival to GPS and to cut reliance on overseas systems.”
- China plans to launch more than 30 such satellites in the next three years to support a global navigation network for both military and civilian uses.
- There are currently more than 20 Beidou satellites in orbit, but they cover only China and nearby regions, and are not yet used for civilian applications.
- The China Daily says the new Beidou satellite is equipped with “new, ultra-accurate rubidium atomic clocks,” which have “greatly improved the accuracy of the system.”
Government jobs in demand
More than 720,000 people have already signed up for the national civil servant exam (国考 guó kǎo), a test the government uses to select candidates for 28,000 central government jobs currently open. The exam will be held on December 10.
- The China Daily says the most popular position is at the Liaison Office of the International Cooperation Department of the China Family Planning Association: 1,198 people have already applied for just one vacancy.
- Jobs in several provincial taxation bureaus are among the most popular.
- Some jobs “have a ratio of qualified candidates to vacancies of lower than 3 to 1,” including “853 positions without any applicant.” These jobs are mostly “in underdeveloped areas or demand grassroots work experience.”
- Register here if you are a Chinese citizen and would like to apply.
Eggs of a bug as long as your arm
The world’s longest insect is Zhao’s giant stick insect, Phryganistria chinensis Zhao, which was discovered in China in 2014. Adults are around 25 inches (63 centimeters) long. The China Daily reports (with photos) that the Insect Museum of West China in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, has successfully hatched giant stick insect eggs.