China politics and policy updates

The Chinese Communist Party has warned thousands of officials in Hangzhou that Hangzhou is home to Jack Ma’s Alibaba and other leading technology companies to eradicate any “conflicts of interest” that may exist between them or their families and local companies.

The statement was issued online by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Chinese Communist Party’s corruption watchdog, on Monday, two days after the city’s top official was detained for “serious violations of discipline,” a phrase commonly used by Chinese authorities. A euphemism for corruption.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection did not link Zhou Jiangyong’s detention to any specific company or entrepreneur. But the notice was issued amid fierce suppression of the technology industry, and Beijing announced a series of measures to curb the power of some of the country’s largest companies.

Regulators stated that 25,000 local officials and their families are the focus of “self-examination and self-correction” reviews, focusing on their relationship with local businesses, including “illegal borrowing.” This will include investigating those who have retired within the past three years.

Ever since the $37 billion initial public offering of Ant Group, a financial technology platform founded by Jack Ma, was suspended by regulators at the last minute, possible connections between Hangzhou officials and companies have been under scrutiny.

CCDI added that Hangzhou officials will be responsible for the business activities of their relatives, even if they are not personally involved.

According to recent changes to party and government rules, senior officials cannot supervise industries that are also run by companies managed by their spouses or children. But if their immediate family members hold lower-level positions or serve as company “consultants”, they can do so.

Three years ago, Zhou was promoted to the highest position of the Party Committee of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, and has always been an enthusiastic booster for the city’s technology industry.

“The Hangzhou government is committed to protecting enterprises,” said Li Chengdong, founder of the Beijing technology think tank Dolphin. “But normal political-business relations cannot transfer interests [to officials], Not to mention allowing companies to manipulate politics. “

The IPO of Ant Group will be the largest in the world.The decision to stop listing was made by President Xi Jinping Just a few days after Jack Ma publicly criticized China’s financial regulators and the national banking industry.

Xi Jinping then presided over a campaign against “reckless capital expansion”, with particular attention to market concentration and alleged abuse of China’s largest private technology group, including Ant Financial’s biggest competitor, Tencent.

The president expanded the scope of the campaign to resolve “Social ills” Allegedly from some industries, such as private tutoring and video game companies, and promised to regulate “excessive income” while expanding “Common Prosperity”.

Alibaba is Fined $2.8 billion In April of this year, the country’s market supervisory authority was challenged by the organization for allegedly abusing monopolistic behavior. However, Alibaba and Ant Financial executives have repeatedly denied that they are aware of any wrongdoing or irregularities surrounding Ant Financial’s unfortunate initial public offering.

Additional report by Liu Nian in Beijing

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