The banking industry is now a focus of the Chinese regime’s two-years plus anti-corruption campaign. In the past week, two high-ranking banking executives were taken away for investigation, and another committed suicide.
The Bank of Beijing, whose largest shareholder is the Beijing municipal government, announced on the evening of Feb. 2 that Lu Haijun, a board member, is being investigated for “serious violations of Party discipline.”
The stock phrase is often used for corruption cases. When a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member is formally investigated, he or she undergoes the abusive interrogation called “shuanggui,” which often includes torture.
Also on Feb. 2, the president of a branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Cangzhou in northern China’s Hebei Province committed suicide by jumping off his branch’s building, according to state news media.
A source with knowledge of the matter told the state-run Guangming Daily that the president’s suicide followed a meeting in the bank. What happened at the meeting has not been reported, and the name of the dead man has not been released.
On Jan. 31, multiple mainland Chinese media outlets confirmed that Mao Xiaofeng, the president of China’s biggest private bank, Minsheng Bank, was recently taken away by the CCP’s Central Commission of Discipline and Inspection (CCDI) for investigation.
An insider has said that Mao’s detention was related to the corruption investigation of the high-level communist official Ling Jihua, according to the mainland finance magazine Caixin. Ling was the former top aide for former Chinese Communist Party head Hu Jintao and was vice chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Commission at the time of his arrest.
Mainland China’s media have given intense coverage to these scandals involving top bank executives. The Wall Street Journal has reported that CCDI head Wang Qishan recently established a department to focus on financial sector, according to an anonymous Chinese official.
“Finance is Wang Qishan’s old stomping ground. He knows how the industry works,” the official said. Wang served as vice president of People’s Bank of China and then president of China Construction Bank in the 1990s’. Wang also served as the General Office chief of the State Economic Structural Reform Commission from 2000 to 2002.
Anti-corruption storm clouds started gathering over China’s financial industry last year. According to the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily eight high executives of China’s medium and small banks were sacked for corruption in 2014. According to the report, the storm will break over the financial industry this year.