|Chang Xiaobing, another tiger investigated|
The Hong Kong newspaper says that the probe comes 10 months after Chang claimed, on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in March, that he only took home US$ 1,200 a month (after tax!). Chang was then attending the Congress as a member of the Tibet delegation.
Now, it looks like Chang was taking more than US$ 1,200 a month!
The SCMP notes: “China Telecom chairman Chang Xiaobing is the latest senior official of a state-owned industrial juggernaut to fall from grace in Beijing’s sweeping crackdown on corruption.”
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, announced in a statement that Chang “was suspected of seriously violating party discipline”, in other words, a case of corruption!
Four months ago, Chang, 58, then chairman and chief executive of China Unicom, had swapped job with Wang Xiaochu, then chairman of China Telecom. It was a major reshuffle at the top of China’s telecom sector.
Two sources told the SCMP that the investigation into Chang’s allegedly corrupt activities relates to his time at Unicom; he had been officiating as Chairman since November 2004.
A few months ago, two Unicom officials, Zhang Zhijiang, a general manager responsible for network construction, and Zong Xinhua, who oversaw e-commerce, had been ‘taken away’ by the CCDI officials, also for allegedly ‘serious violations of discipline’.
At that time, it was reported that some Unicom officials committed a series of wrongdoings, including colluding with vendors to make illegal incomes; taking advantage of their positions to help relatives secure big contracts; and accepting valuable ‘gifts’ such as shares of companies from clients.
Chang Xiaobing is/was a member of the Tibet delegation to the National People’s Congress (with Wang Huning, President Xi Jinping’s faithful confident).
In March 2013, Bloomberg News had reported that China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd., the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, had announced that its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chang Xiaobing had joined the National People’s Congress as a member of the Tibet delegation.
Bloomberg then commented: “Chang is not ethnically Tibetan, and China Unicom has no information on why he was chosen for that delegation, Zhou Xiaoke, Unicom’s Hong Kong-based director of investor relations, said... Chang has previously served on the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which advises the legislature.”
Bloomberg added: “Chang joins the Tibetan delegation at a sensitive time as a rising number of activists from the region are setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule. Chang is part of the nation’s ethnic Han majority and is from the northern province of Hebei that surrounds Beijing.”
The reason why Chang was part of the 20-member Tibet delegation (with Wang Huning) is that Xi Jinping wanted the industry to invest on the plateau. Chang was the representative of the industry, like Wang Huning represented the Politburo and Dr. Ding Zhongli of the Chinese Academy of Science represented ‘environment’.
I had mentioned this in March 2013 on this blog.
Coincidentally, Xinhua announced last week that China will continue to offer preferential financial policies to support Tibet for the next five years. Pan Gongsheng, deputy head of the People's Bank of China, urged commercial banks to provide more credit resources for Tibet “while risks are under control.”
Pan stressed the importance of diversifying financial businesses and increasing branches in Tibet, and encouraging qualified capital to establish small institutions like private and village banks.
More direct financing and financial bonds are expected to facilitate enterprises, especially small and micro businesses in Tibet, he said.
In the meantime, Xi Jinping will have to find a replacement for Chang Xiaobing in the Tibet delegation to the National People’s Congress in March.
Why not Jack Ma, who recently bought The South China Morning Post?
According to SCMP, China Unicom’s former chairman is said to have sold a state-owned office building in Beijing at 800 million yuan (HK$957 million) below the market price to benefit disgraced former general Guo Boxiong’s family, according to a letter (circulated online) by a mainland credit assessment company.
State-owned telecommunications giant China Unicom in 2011 sold the Beijing China Merchants International Financial Centre to a real estate firm under the control of Guo’s family, the letter said.
The deal resulted in about 800 million yuan worth of losses in state assets as the building was sold at only a third of its market price of 1.2 billion yuan. Other potential buyers, including insurance giant Taikang Life Insurance, had offered much higher prices but were turned down, the letter said.