In this week’s issue of China Economic Weekly, the domestic Chinese magazine ran a report on “naked officials” as its cover story, revealing that from 2000 to 2011, a total of 18,487 officials were caught while attempting to escape overseas with illicit funds.
“Naked officials,” or luo guan in Chinese, refers to those communist officials who move their family and assets abroad in the hopes of eventually escaping there themselves.
The China Economic Weekly report also noted that publicly released figures from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, China’s highest prosecution agency, showed that within a span of 5 years, more than 54 billion yuan worth of illicit funds and goods were seized.
A report released in December 2011 by the Washington D.C. research organization Global Financial Integrity revealed that from 2000 to 2009, illicit financial outflows from China totaled US$2.74 trillion, the highest among developing countries in the world.
The China Economic Weekly report comes in the wake of the recent purge of Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai and the public uncovering of his illicit dealings with overseas businesses. He also owns a number of properties in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and Vancouver.
According to a recent report from the Hong Kong-based Trend Magazine, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (an entity for investigating corruption among officials) has issued a document for all officials to disclose detailed information regarding all their immediate family members who are living, working, or studying abroad. If officials fail to complete the form before July 1, they could face serious punishment.
Washington D.C.-based China expert Shi Zangshan believes the move is Premier Wen Jiabao’s attempt to prevent future scandals of “naked officials” like Bo Xilai from coming to the surface. “It is obvious that Wen Jiabao is behind the Central Commission’s order to get ‘naked officials’ to report on their family situations. More interesting events are sure to come.”
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