President Xi's "Common Prosperity" crackdown has finally ensnared a CCP official who allegedly participated in the "disorderly expansion of capital" by taking bribes, abusing his official power, and other violations of his "official duties" - violations that happen to be not just common, but absolutely essential to the Chinese economy, where connections to the government often leads to economic power.
After cracking down on the country's biggest tech firms, abolishing the private tutoring industry, limiting minors to just a few hours of video games a week and launching an incipient corruption campaign, many Chinese are still wondering how President Xi's "Common Prosperity" drive will affect them. The President has taken pains to reassure them that money seized from "monopolists" and other economic abusers will be repurposed for the public good, particularly in China's underdeveloped rural areas.
And like any of China's previous "anti-corruption campaigns" (including the anti-corruption drive President Xi used to sideline his enemies early during his first term as China's paramount leader), it's inevitable that some heads belonging to senior Communists will roll.
Unfortunately (for the targets), it looks like the latest purge has already started.
Bloomberg on Wednesday reported that the first CCP apparatchik to be officially expelled from the Party during the current anti-corruption crackdown is none other than Zhou Jiangyong, the former party secretary of Hangzhou, the hometown of Alibaba. Zhou was implicated in a major corruption scandal besides Alibaba and Ant Group, which we reported on late last week.
Reports on the corrupt relationship claimed that bribes were paid by Alibaba to Zhou's brother, who also appeared to benefit in other ways thanks to his connection to his brother.
China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection released a statement about the official's ouster on Wednesday:
"Zhou Jiangyong has lost his ideals and beliefs,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said. “He covertly opposed central government plans, colluded with capital, supported the disorderly expansion of capital, engaged in superstitious activities and deliberately resisted probes."
BBG claimed that Zhou's ouster from the party marked the first citation of "disorderly capital" in a CCDI corruption case, according to a BBG document review. Zhou, who has reportedly been under investigation since August, was also accused of colluding with family members to receive huge bribes, according to the statement.
His case has been referred to prosecutors. Corruption cases are known to occasionally carry the death penalty in China.
Zhou wasn't the only official expelled from the Party Wednesday over corruption allegations Wednesday: The CCDI also declared that He Xingxiang, a former vice president of China Development Bank, had been expelled from the Party for "serious" violations of the law, including the misuse of financial approval rights, which had created "major risks" and “huge losses” for the country.
The anti-graft authority had reportedly announced last week that it would crack down on "disorderly expansion of capital” when investigating corruption and "monopolistic" enterprises in the country. Efforts will be made to sever "the link between power and capital,” the CCDI said. "Show no mercy to those who engage in political gangs, small circles, and interest groups within the party, and strictly educate, manage and supervise young cadres."
Hopefully, family members of China's paramount leaders, many of whom have enjoyed an explosion of wealth thanks to their familial ties, aren't too worried. After all, the CCP has expelled foreign reporters who have dared to report on the wealth held by members of President Xi's family.