When one reads stories such as the following report from the FT, in which we learn that former Chinese president Jiang Zemin "has urged the current leadership to rein in an anti-corruption campaign that is proving the harshest in decades and is seen as threatening the interests and networks of some Communist party elders", or said otherwise - his cronies, aside from being utterly speechless at the rapid unravelling of the bizarro world, all one can say is - expect such developments in the US in a few years time, when then former president Obama asks Clinton, Christie or whoever the then-reigning dictator of the totalitarian states of America is, to take it easy on the Corzines of the world.
Mr Jiang, who stepped down as president of China in 2003 but retained control of the military for a further two years, has sent a clear signal in the past month to Xi Jinping, the president, according to three people familiar with the matter. Mr Jiang sent a message saying “the footprint of this anti-corruption campaign cannot get too big” in a warning to Mr Xi not to take on too many of the powerful families or patronage networks at the top of the party hierarchy.
Former President Hu Jintao, who was replaced by Mr Xi a year ago, has also expressed reservations about the anti-corruption drive and warned his successor not to expand it too far, according to one person involved in executing the campaign.
President Xi has made tackling corruption and official largesse the centrepiece of his presidency, vowing to tackle powerful “tigers” (high-ranking officials) as well as “flies” at lower levels in the bureaucracy.
Apart from concerns about attacks on their patronage networks, Mr Hu and Mr Jiang are worried that a campaign that lasted too long and was too harsh could erode support among the Communist party’s rank and file and threaten the stability of its rule.
Using corruption allegations to purge a high-ranking official is a time-honoured tradition for new presidents in China.
Obivously China's oligarchs, or at least those among them who were true to Zemin if not so much to Jinping, are starting to sweat bullets if they have resorted to such an unprecedented appeal in public media which naturally will reflect as weakness on the current president if he relents, which probably means the crackdown will only accelerate in the coming months.
This is important because as we have reported previously, as a result of Xi's "anti-corruption" campaign, Chinese domestic demand has fallen precipitously in recent months, and has gone so far as to reverberate across the global economy where the Chinese have become the de facto marginal consumer of luxury goods and services.d
[T]he length and severity of the current campaign has had more of an impact on behaviour than in the past, according to business people and officials, who say that conspicuous consumption is off the agenda these days.
Most global luxury companies have reported declining Chinese sales of their products, which have been favoured as gifts and bribes for officials for years.
In the past few weeks, producers of high-end spirits like Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Rémy Cointreau have reported double-digit first-half collapses in sales in China and have explicitly blamed Beijing’s austerity drive for their woes.
In other words, please tolerate China's criminals otherwise who else will buy overpriced Chanel bags, while wearing just as overpriced Louboutin shoes and chugging Cristal.
And since in the US it's increasingly "only fair" to redistribute wealth, the Chinese definition of "fairness" increasingly involves the stretching of the term justice, which is applicable to most... just not the uber wealthy criminals that built up their stolen wealth during some previous administration.