News / Asia

China’s 'Corruption Crackdown' Nabs State Oil Chief

Maria das Gracas Silva Foster (L), CEO of Brazil's state oil company Petrobras, greets Bo Qiliang, President of CNODC, during a signing ceremony for the First Contract of Brazilian Pre-Salt, attended by Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, ministers and repre
Maria das Gracas Silva Foster (L), CEO of Brazil's state oil company Petrobras, greets Bo Qiliang, President of CNODC, during a signing ceremony for the First Contract of Brazilian Pre-Salt, attended by Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, ministers and repre
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ongoing “corruption” crackdown has now nabbed a major state oil corporation senior official. 

PetroChina Company Limited Vice President Bo Qiliang has been removed from his position and detained by authorities, who have prevented him from leaving the country.  Bo’s secretary has also been held in the probe.
 
Bo, who headed overseas operations for PetroChina, a subsidiary of CNPC, the China National Petroleum Corporation, is reported by the anti-corruption news portal FCPABlog to be under investigation for colluding with other senior Chinese oil executives to steal state assets.

The identity and nature of those assets, however, have yet to be publicly revealed.
 
The 52-year-old native of Shandong joined CNPC shortly after his 1983 university graduation.  After CNPC acquired the PK oilfield in Kazakhstan in 2005, Bo was put in charge of that operation.

There are published allegations that during his two years heading PetroKazakhstan, he paid substantial bribes to Kazakh government officials to enlarge the company’s holdings.
 
Interestingly, Reuters reports that Bo’s replacement at PetroChina is Lu Gongxun, who formerly headed PetroChina’s Kazakhstan operation.
 
The government’s “Central Discipline Inspection Division” probe into PetroChina has already swept up a number of other officials, including the detention in April of Foreign Cooperation Department General Manager Yan Cunzhang. Former PetroChina Chief Geologist Wang Daofu has also been put under investigation.
 
China analyst Edward Schwarck at the British research organization Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) says the corruption focus on PetroChina is about profits as well as integrity.
 
“PetroChina,” which is one of the country’s three major oil companies, is “the worst performing among them by a considerable margin,” Schwarck said.

“Investigations into PetroChina executives over the past year,” he said, “suggest that Beijing sees corruption as having contributed to the company’s business failings.

The anti-corruption campaign in PetroChina is probably part of a broader drive to make the company more profitable and efficient.”
 
The Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald says that more than 120 officials from CNPC and its subsidiaries have been put under investigation for alleged corruption.

Caixin, a Beijing based business website, says at least 45 people have been collared by authorities relative to CNPC-connected dealings.

Caixin quotes an unidentified official as saying “in addition to the names of corrupt officials that have been made public, many others are also implicated, notably those in charge of the company’s business dealings.”
 
To a number of observers, the probe into PetroChina and its CNPC parent also has a strong political component – the drive by President Xi Jinping to suppress any rivals.

These analysts point to the ongoing and ever-tightening spiral of investigation into former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang.  Zhou headed CNPC in the 1990s and that, along with his position as Sichuan Communist Party chief, propelled himself into China’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee.
 
In May 2012, General Ruan Zhibo died unexpectedly and Hong Kong-based Waican News asserted he was murdered on Zhou’s orders, reportedly because the general had knowledge that Zhou and Chongqing Communist Party Boss Bo Xilai, now imprisoned, were allegedly plotting a political coup against President Xi and his circle.
 
While Zhou has not been hit yet with official corruption charges, those associated with him have been targeted, investigated, and in some cases, taken into custody. Earlier this year, members of Zhou’s immediate family and close associates had a total of $14.5 billion in assets seized.
 
Several weeks ago, suspected Zhou ally Liu Han, a Sichuan mining magnate, was convicted of heading a 38-member crime gang and sentenced to death.  So was his brother, Liu Yong.
 
“I think what’s happening is that Xi Jinping [and anti-corruption boss] Wang Qishan want to establish a harsh precedent,” Chinese University of Hong Kong researcher Willy Lam told Reuters.

Lam said the death sentences were intended “to make people afraid, in a sense, to have a deterrence impact on corrupt officials.”
 
If Zhou is formally charged, he would be the highest ranking Chinese official to be hit with corruption charges.

But a number of analysts express doubt that authorities want to put someone once in the Politburo on trial because it would weaken the perceived invincibility of that institution, and, perhaps, draw too much attention to its other members.
 
“It is still unclear whether Zhou himself will be prosecuted, but the purging of his former allies,” Schwarck said, “is still important in sending a message that obstructive interest groups [those who stand against President Xi] in industry and politics will not be tolerated.”

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid