Victims of Tianjin Fraud Protest, but Party Links Make Returns Unlikely
Instead of celebrating New Year’s Day in China, many victims of an investment scam in the north were protesting outside government buildings recently, hoping that someone will be held accountable for the way their savings were stolen—or at least, that there’s still a chance they’ll get their money back.
But it seems increasingly unlikely that there will ever be a revisiting of the private equity fraud that took place under the nose of officials—and apparently with their support—here, given that Zhang Gaoli, the former Party secretary of Tianjin where the scam took place, is now a member of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee.
From December 2010 to October 2011 the Tianjin government publicly encouraged investment in a range of private equity funds. Investments were advertised as being “first come, first served,” and returns were promised on invested capital. Many invested their life savings, believing the investments were secure, given that they had the imprimatur of the regime.
Li Peng (alias), one of the victims, told an Epoch Times reporter that even in cold weather many still came forward to protest, hoping that they’d get their money back for the new year.
Some elderly protesters had traveled from Henan Province, about 7 hours away by car; Li urged them to go indoors so they wouldn’t catch a cold.
Ms. Bai, another victim, teared up as she discussed the private equity deals that she felt she was lured into, and lost everything in. Now her family has no money.
She said many victims have been going up to the Tianjin government recently, calling out Zhang Gaoli to return their money. The police haven’t used force against them, but no officials have taken steps to resolve the matter either.
According to a Chinese official familiar with the case, speaking anonymously, the incident was created by Zhang Gaoli, who now sits on the Politburo, the highest level of power in the regime. An official apology and admission of wrongdoing is therefore unlikely.
Li Peng said an official once told him that at most the Party would investigate just a few of the companies, and have them pay token compensation in a few cases, but that it would not conduct a full investigation, or try to resolve the matter fundamentally.
The faction of former leader Jiang Zemin, of which Zhang Gaoli is understood to be a part, has been linked to the fraud.
Zeng Liang (alias), is another victim that decided to invest several thousand dollars in the private equity companies, after seeing his friends yield good returns. He said that a relative that works in the Tianjin government privately revealed to him that the incident was actually planned by officials within the top circle of the CCP, and that the real owners of the registered private equity firms are all linked to Jiang Zemin.
Even Zhou Yongkang’s son Zhou Bin had been involved in an Internet fraud project called “ABCD agriculture fund raising project,” according to Zeng’s relative. ABCD has been flagged by some Chinese local public security departments as engaging in “Interprovincial illegal fund-raising” according to zhixiaowang.com, a Chinese direct marketing website.
Zeng now believes that Jiang is still working hard to protect his interests in politics, and that the former Party leader is largely immune to the new anti-corruption campaign being launched by Xi Jinping. Expressing his frustration, Zeng called out: “Defeat Jiang Zemin and the CCP! Bring democracy to China!”
Read the original Chinese article.
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