BBC Chinese recently reported that the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC) are having full sessions now in Beijing. According to the Hurun Rich List (Mainland China), an annual report that ranks personal wealth and is widely accepted in China, in the last four years the total wealth of those NPC and CPPCC members who are listed in Hurun increased by 64 percent. Their wealth reached RMB 3 trillion (around US$435 billion), which is higher than the GDP of Austria. The average annual growth rate of their wealth was 13 percent. That is double the growth rate of China’s GDP. According to Hurun founder Rupert Hoogewerf, his reports are based on public information and are just the tip of the iceberg compared to the “hidden wealth” of the individuals on his list. In the past several years, many people on the Hurun list were found guilty of illegal activities and were brought to justice.
Source: BBC Chinese, March 2, 2017
Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported on newly released official economic statistics that showed a 23 percent decline in Liaoning Province’s 2016 GDP number. The surprising number reflected the adjustments needed because of the province’s illegal activities in faking the province’s official statistics. The governor of Liaoning acknowledged his predecessor’s wrongdoing. However, the adjusted new number also reflected an economic decline resulting from debt defaults, production reductions, and massive layoffs in this industrial province that relies heavily on producing steel. Last April, Liaoning became the first province in seven years to report a negative growth rate. Many economists expressed their belief that political manipulation of economic data has been a widespread issue across China. Liaoning is not an isolated case. For many years, China’s national GDP total has always been less than the sum of GDP numbers from all provinces.
Source: Sina, February 23, 2017
BBC Chinese recently reported that, at the last minute, Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng cancelled his February 23 visit to the Philippines. Gao originally planned to sign around 40 infrastructure investment project agreements during this trip. Neither side provided an explanation for the cancellation. However, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay commented in the ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Foreign Ministers’ Conference that China constructing artificial islands in disputed territories may change the rules of the game. He also immediately added that the Philippines was very happy with its relationship with China and that China promised there would be no more construction. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented that China wishes Yasay would act in line with his own President.
Source: BBC Chinese, February 23, 2017