News / Asia

China Targets Corrupt Officials With Overseas Assets

China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officialsi
August 19, 2014 12:31 PM
As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses ahead with its anti-graft effort, authorities are zeroing in on so-called “naked officials.”

That is the name given to corrupt Communist cadres who send their wives or children abroad and channel their illegal profits out of the country.

The issue is not new, but it has become more public after senior politicians targeted in graft investigations were caught hiding wealth abroad.

Hong Kong University politics professor Zhu Jiangnan said, “A lot of family members of the Chinese officials, they are living a luxurious lifestyle overseas, and apparently with the regular salary of the government officials it's hard to afford that kind of life, so immediately people will ask: is this probably related to corruption? Where do they get the money?”

The government is trying to quantify the problem, and regions in China have completed an internal survey. But, so far, only the province of Guangdong has dared to report it found officials with overseas assets.

Little information

The campaign resonates in China, where many believe the government is up against a very widespread practice.

"There is no official who is not corrupt. They can't keep that wealth in China because otherwise it can all be discovered and taken,” one man said.

A woman in Beijing said, "In China, because people only have one child, they give their children all their most cherished possessions. In this case, they send them and their wives to live abroad because they feel it would be safer. This is a sign of mistrust in the Chinese system."

President Xi Jinping has also urged a change in style for cadres and warned China's youth that being a civil servant is not a money-making career.

Such an approach has won him praise in China.

"It does not have that big of an impact on common people, it us not going to affect my pay, or my lifestyle, but it is going to help the country and the party's image,” said one man from Beijing.

Wealth, assets of officials

Public shaming of “naked officials” has renewed a debate about how little the public in China knows about the wealth and assets of officials in general.

China has yet to draft a nationwide law to require officials to disclose their assets, despite strong calls from scholars and activists.

 “They are saying a more effective way to regulate this [“naked officials”], is ultimately you probably have to implement the rule of asset publicity for officials. Otherwise, there is no way for the public to supervise,” Zhu said.

But short of pilot programs for lower-level officials, it is unclear what the party plans are for its ruling elite.

You May Like

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Indian PM Calls for Unity Amid Tense Climate Over Beef Attacks

Recent series of beef-related incidents seen as signs of rising intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities More

Why These Are New York City's Most Treasured Spaces

Under threat of jail time and fines, some New York property owners are not allowed to renovate their spaces without prior approval More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
August 31, 2014 12:32 AM
Govrnment officials above a certain rank in Beijing have to surrender their Chinese passports lest they may escape. What kind of government can you find in China which do not even trust their officials. Is this a sign of a strong and prosperous country.

by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
August 19, 2014 10:54 PM
Is Hong Kong and Macau considered overseas in this article?

by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
August 19, 2014 4:58 PM
Chinese officials who are corrupt can out-manouvre the government. Why? All rules and regulations are drafted by officials. All rules and regulations are enforced by officials. If officials want to get out of any bind, they can. Ordinary folks cannot. Very simple.

by: Stone He from: CHINA
August 19, 2014 12:35 PM
As long as the people there will not be able to elected government and end to the one-party dictatorship, corrupt officials will only fall a batch, then a new group would breeding.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs