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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora