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Millionäre
Mrz 13th, 2017 by Gao

Sui-lee Wee: Chinese Lawmakers’ Wallets Have Grown Along With Xi’s Power / 习近平时代,人大代表的财富迅速增长 (New York Times)

Mao once branded capitalists enemies of the Chinese people. In the era of President Xi Jinping, those capitalists are billionaire lawmakers — and they’re getting even wealthier.
The combined fortune of the wealthiest members of China’s Parliament and its advisory body amounts to $500 billion, just below the annual economic output of Sweden. Among that group of 209 entrepreneurs and business tycoons, the 100 richest saw their net worth rise 64 percent in the four years since Mr. Xi took power, according to the Hurun Report, an organization based in Shanghai that tracked the wealth of the delegates, ahead of their annual joint sessions that start on Friday in Beijing.
Since he was anointed leader, Mr. Xi has pledged to tackle income inequality, alleviate poverty and crack down on corruption. Warning that graft could bring down the ruling Communists, Mr. Xi has ordered an end to alcohol-fueled banquets and bribery, which often takes the form of red packets filled with cash or luxury handbags.
The increasing wealth of lawmakers “tells us that political power and money have remained tightly intertwined in China: this is a structural issue that Xi cannot solve,” but only hide, said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a professor of Chinese politics at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Hurun Global Rich List 2017 (胡润百富)

The Hurun Global Rich List 2017 ranked 2,257 billionaires from 68 countries and from 1811 companies in another record-breaking year for the world’s billionaires.
Total wealth increased by 16% to US$8.0 trillion equivalent to 10.7% of global GDP, and up from 7% of global GDP five years ago. Hoogewerf said, “Global wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the billionaires at a rate far exceeding global growth.” …
Chinese billionaires led the USA for the second year running, with 609 compared with 552. Hoogewerf said “China and the USA have half the billionaires in the world.” …
The ‘Big Two’ are Greater China and the USA with 609 and 552 billionaires respectively, amounting to half of the billionaires on the planet. It has been a good year for Germany, which surged past India into third place. UAE and Indonesia broke into the Top 20 for the first time. Bangladesh contributed a billionaire for the first time, to take the countries that the billionaires reside in to 68 countries…
Greater China: No 1 with 609 billionaires, 41 more than last year. The combined net worth of the Chinese billionaires is US$1.6 trillion, 2.1% of the global GDP. Real Estate has generated most number of billionaires (120), followed by Manufacturing and TMT with 115 and 78 respectively. Led by Beijing, 5 Chinese cities make the top 10 cities and 7 the Top 20. Average age is 58, six years younger than the average of the list. China is the number 1 in the world in terms of generating self-made billionaires akin to “rags to riches” and is home to two-thirds of the world’s self-made female billionaires. A February IPO propelled Wang Wei, 46, of SF Express to third spot, with a five-fold growth in his wealth to US$27bn, just behind Wang Jianlin and Jack Ma. Corporate raider Yao Zhenhua of Baoneng saw the fastest growth on the list, rising almost eight-fold to US$15bn, but in February was barred from the insurance industry for ten years by the regulator…
New Entrants to Top 100. There were 23 new entrants to the Top 100, led by Chinese Express Delivery King Wang Wei of SF Express, whose February IPO saw his wealth shoot up five-fold to US$27bn, straight into 25 in the world. Others of note include former China Number One Ding Lei, 46, of Netease, and Elon Musk, who broke into the Top 100 for the first time. Lakshmi Mittal, 66, won back most of his losses from last year, on the back of a recovery in the global steel market…
Women. 15% of the list are women. Of the 152 self-made women, Chinese led the way with 121 (a staggering 79.6%), followed by 14 from the USA and 8 from the UK. The richest women are Liliane Bettencourt, 94, of L’Oreal with US$28bn, followed by Alice Walton of Wal-mart, Jacqueline Mars of Mars and Maria Franca Fissolo of Ferrero Rocher. The richest self-made woman in the world is Beijing Real Estate Queen Chen Lihua of FuHua with US$7.2bn. Hoogewerf said, “China is indisputably now the best place in the world to be a female entrepreneur.”…
Others include 115 Chinese billionaires with senior political appointments to the NPC and CPPC…
29% of billionaires are of Chinese origin, up 22 to 652 this year, and 252 new Chinese billionaires five years ago.

Panama-Papiere
Apr 6th, 2016 by Gao

Matthias Müller: Sprachlos in Peking (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Staatschef Xi Jinping ist Korruption ein Dorn im Auge. Die Enthüllungen der «Panama Papers» wird er deshalb mit Argusaugen verfolgen. Auch Mitglieder seiner Familie nutzen jedoch «Briefkastenfirmen». …
Welche Chinesen Briefkastenfirmen gründeten, bleibt im Dunkeln. Deren Namen dürften für eine breite chinesische Öffentlichkeit jedoch keine grosse Überraschung darstellen. Im Fokus steht Deng Jiagui , der seit 1996 mit der älteren Schwester von Staats- und Parteichef Xi Jinping, Qi Qiaoqiao, verheiratet ist. Das Ehepaar war bereits 2012 in Visier westlicher Medien geraten, als die Nachrichtenagentur «Bloomberg» enthüllte, dass es über Vermögenswerte in Höhe von mehreren Hundert Millionen Dollar verfüge.

Huang Zheping: China’s elite—including Xi Jinping—are linked to offshore deals that hid millions of dollars (Quartz)

At least eight top Chinese officials are linked to offshore deals through associates, an investigation into 11 million leaked documents from one of the world’s largest offshore law firms shows. They include the brother-in-law of Chinese president Xi Jinping, whose offshore firms went dormant before Xi came into power, and the granddaughter of a former top leader who bought an offshore company for just $1.

Juliette Garside, David Pegg: Panama Papers reveal offshore secrets of China’s red nobility (Guardian)

The eight members of China’s Communist party elite whose family members used offshore companies are revealed in the Panama Papers.
The documents show the granddaughter of a powerful Chinese leader became the sole shareholder in two British Virgin Islands companies while still a teenager. Jasmine Li had just begun studying at Stanford University in the US when the companies were registered in her name in December 2010. Her grandfather Jia Qinglin was at that time the fourth-ranked politician in China…
Also in the data are Hu Dehua, the businessman son of Hu Yaobang, the Communist party’s general secretary ousted in 1987…

Johnny Erling: Der Panama-Skandal erreicht Chinas Führung (Standard)
Panama Papers – The Power Players: Deng Jiagui | Li Xiaolin (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists)
Powerful force is behind Panama Papers (Global Times)

A huge leak of confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm alleged to have been a facilitator of money laundering for its clients has shocked international public opinion. Over 11 million documents were passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. These documents have been reportedly investigated by some 300 global journalists for a year.
The Western media soon collected the most eye-catching information from the documents and leaders of non-Western countries have been scrutinized. Most media led with the allegations that a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin had laundered $1 billion. The Western media has opaquely described it as „Putin’s money laundering.“ …
The Western media has taken control of the interpretation each time there has been such a document dump, and Washington has demonstrated particular influence in it. Information that is negative to the US can always be minimized, while exposure of non-Western leaders, such as Putin, can get extra spin.
In the Internet era, disinformation poses no major risks to Western influential elites or the West. In the long-run, it will become a new means for the ideology-allied Western nations to strike a blow to non-Western political elites and key organizations.

In den Medienberichten weniger prominent platziert:
Tsai Ing-wens Bruder hatte Beziehungen zu Anwaltskanzlei Mossack Fonseca (Radio Taiwan International)

Tsai Ying-yang, der Bruder der kommenden Präsidentin Tsai Ing-wen, hatte Beziehungen zur Anwaltskanzlei Mossack Fonseca. Das wird aus den kürzlich veröffentlichten Dokumenten der im Rahmen der Steuerhinterziehung genutzen panamaischen Anwaltskanzlei deutlich. …
Die Kanzlei [Mossack Fonseca] wurde 1977 von Jürgen Mossack, dem Sohn des Waffen-SS Rottenführers Erhard Mossack gegründet. Der US-Auslandsgeheimdienst CIA führte seinen Vater nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg für Spionagezwecke in Panama. Dort gründete der Sohn Jürgen Mossack die in die Schlagzeilen geratene Kanzlei zusammen mit dem panamaischen Anwalt Ramón Fonseca Mora.

Mia Lamar, Ned Levin: Five Things to Know About Hong Kong and the ‘Panama Papers’ (Wall Street Journal)

Hong Kong features prominently in a massive trove of documents allegedly leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co., according to reports published by international media outlets…
Hong Kong Was Mossack Fonseca’s Busiest Office…
China Laws Help Drive Hong Kong Offshore Activity… Chinese technology giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which went public in New York in 2014 in a record-beating $25 billion offering, is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, for instance.

Peter Wolter, Ernst Wolff: »Geldanlegern ist dort fast alles erlaubt« (junge Welt)

Vom Skandal um die Panama-Konten profitieren in erster Linie die US-amerikanischen Steueroasen…
Es ist ganz offensichtlich ein Manöver der USA, sich selbst als weltweit beste Steueroase zu präsentieren. Wenn man die bisher vorliegenden Informationen über diese Panama-Papiere heranzieht, fällt auf, dass dort vor allem Gegner der USA angeschwärzt werden – die USA selber bleiben aber außen vor. Banken dieses Landes werden überhaupt nicht erwähnt, ebenso wenig Konzerne. Soweit ich weiß, werden auch keine Privatpersonen aus den USA genannt.
Das Interessante dabei ist, was nicht veröffentlicht wurde. Durch die Publizierung von Teilen dieser Papiere wird nämlich Druck auf Steuerhinterzieher aller Länder ausgeübt, ihr Schwarzgeld anderswo in Sicherheit zu bringen – niemand von ihnen kann wissen, ob nicht auch er in der Liste steht. Diese Leute werden sich vorsichtshalber eine neue Steueroase suchen: die USA. …
[Die USA] haben sich in den vergangenen Jahren – weitgehend unbemerkt von der breiten Öffentlichkeit – als neues Steuerparadies etabliert. Seit der Jahrtausendwende haben Regierung und Finanzkreise in Washington einen Krieg zum Beispiel gegen die Schweiz geführt: Deren Banken wurden genötigt, das Bankgeheimnis aufzuweichen. …
Parallel dazu wurden aber die US-Bundesstaaten Nevada, Delaware, South-Dakota und Wyoming als Standorte für derartige Konten etabliert. Dort gilt das Bankgeheimnis ohne Einschränkungen, den Geldanlegern ist dort fast alles erlaubt. …
Natürlich ist es gut, dass einige dieser Schiebereien jetzt an die Öffentlichkeit kommen. Aber letzlich versucht doch nur ein Übeltäter, andere Bösewichte zu beschmutzen, um von sich selbst abzulenken. Die wahren Schuldigen am Finanzchaos, die ganz großen Firmen und die Finanzinstitute der Wallstreet, bleiben mit Sicherheit ungeschoren.

Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak (Craig Murray)

Whoever leaked the Mossack Fonseca papers appears motivated by a genuine desire to expose the system that enables the ultra wealthy to hide their massive stashes, often corruptly obtained and all involved in tax avoidance. These Panamanian lawyers hide the wealth of a significant proportion of the 1%, and the massive leak of their documents ought to be a wonderful thing.
Unfortunately the leaker has made the dreadful mistake of turning to the western corporate media to publicise the results. In consequence the first major story, published today by the Guardian, is all about Vladimir Putin and a cellist on the fiddle. As it happens I believe the story and have no doubt Putin is bent.
But why focus on Russia? Russian wealth is only a tiny minority of the money hidden away with the aid of Mossack Fonseca. In fact, it soon becomes obvious that the selective reporting is going to stink.
The Suddeutsche Zeitung, which received the leak, gives a detailed explanation of the methodology the corporate media used to search the files. The main search they have done is for names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes. The Guardian reports this too and helpfully lists those countries as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The filtering of this Mossack Fonseca information by the corporate media follows a direct western governmental agenda. There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that “much of the leaked material will remain private.”
What do you expect? The leak is being managed by the grandly but laughably named “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists”, which is funded and organised entirely by the USA’s Center for Public Integrity. Their funders include

  • Ford Foundation
  • Carnegie Endowment
  • Rockefeller Family Fund
  • W K Kellogg Foundation
  • Open Society Foundation (Soros)

among many others. Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished.

Clifford Coonan: Panama Papers: China describes revelations about its leaders as ‘groundless’ (Irish Times)

Und anderswo:
Self-censorship sensed as Japan’s TV stations replace outspoken anchors (Japan Times)

Hosts Ichiro Furutachi of TV Asahi’s influential “Hodo Station” and Shigetada Kishii of the TBS evening news program “News 23″ will both be replaced in April. NHK, too, is considering pulling longtime anchorwoman Hiroko Kuniya from its “Close-up Gendai” news and features program.
Furutachi has often been criticized by the government and its supporters for his commentaries…
Kuniya’s departure has long been whispered about as she is known for asking big-name politicians tough questions. However, she has survived until now.
Similarly, Kishii expressed opposition to contentious security bills before they cleared the Diet last September and called on fellow opponents to speak up.

Siegfried Knittel: Beschneidung der Pressefreiheit in Japan nimmt zu (Standard)

Journalisten beklagen ein zunehmend repressives Klima in Japan. Der Rücktritt dreier bekannter Fernsehmoderatoren sorgt für Unruhe…
Ins Blickfeld der ausländischen Presse geriet Furutachi, Macher der abendlichen Nachrichtensendung „Hodo Station“ des linksliberalen Asahi TV, im vergangenen Jahr, nachdem der Kommentator Shigeaki Koga in Furutachis Nachrichtensendung bekanntgemacht hatte, dass der Sender ihn auf Druck der Regierung zum Rücktritt gedrängt habe. Nun traf es Furutachi wegen seiner in „Hodo Station“ geäußerten Zweifel an der Verfassungskonformität der im vergangenen Jahr verabschiedeten Verteidigungsgesetze selbst.

TTP | Klimawandel | Hongkong
Mai 4th, 2015 by Gao

Patrick L. Smith: The real story behind Shinzo Abe’s visit: China, TPP and what the media won’t tell you about this state visit (Salon)

In agreements reached as soon as they met Monday, Abe and President Obama have taken defense ties to an intimacy unprecedented in history. As it stands now, this breaches Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, the “no-war” clause barring Japan from military activities other than those in direct defense of its shores.
On the White House steps Tuesday, Abe confirmed his conscription as a commissioned officer in Washington’s campaign to get its ambitious trade pact, the corporate-drafted Trans-Pacific Partnership, signed this year. “We will continue to cooperate to lead the TPP talks through their last phase,” Abe said in one of those side-by-side tableaux commonly staged for the press and the television cameras…
You will hear 55 times over the next little while that, no, the escalation of defense ties has nothing to do with containing the mainland. And no, the TPP may happen to exclude China but is not intended to exclude China.

Reuters: Climate change threatens major building projects, says Chinese expert (Guardian)

Zheng Guoguang, head of China’s meteorological administration, told Monday’s issue of state newspaper the Study Times that the increase in recent weather disasters such as floods, typhoons, droughts and heat waves had a “big connection” to climate change.
Such catastrophes were a threat to big schemes such as the Three Gorges Dam and a high-altitude railway to Tibet, he said.

Liu Qin: China govt cancels green festival as public consciousness on environment grows (China Dialogue)

Chinese authorities last week ordered the last-minute cancellation of an environmental festival in Beijing that was planned to mark Earth Day, a global event aimed at raising awareness of climate change and the Paris summit at the end of the year.
China’s best-known environmental group, Friends of Nature, asked people not to turn up to its Beijing Earth Day Environmental Protection Festival after Beijing police said the event was not permitted to go ahead and that the „online impact“ of the event be toned down.

Suzanne Sataline: What Happened to Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Movement? (Foreign Policy)

The activists from last year’s massive democracy occupation have splintered. Nowhere is this clearer than on college campuses represented by the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the architects of the fall 2014 pro-democracy protests that roiled the Chinese territory. Students at three local universities have voted to quit the league of university students; more vote drives are underway. Critics, some swayed by rising nativist anger, say student leaders’ insistence on passive resistance at the height of the protests doomed the push for open elections for the city’s chief executive, instead of a slate of candidates pre-vetted by Beijing. As the wounded student group tries to shore up its membership, its allies worry that the loss of a united student front will push the already anemic pro-democracy camp closer to irrelevance.

Conal Urquhart: Chinese workers in Israel sign no-sex contract (Guardian)

Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job…
The labourers are also forbidden from engaging in any religious or political activity. The contract states that offenders will be sent back to China at their own expense.
About 260,000 foreigners work in Israel, having replaced Palestinian labourers during three years of fighting. When the government first allowed the entrance of the foreign workers in the late 1990s, ministers warned of a „social timebomb“ caused by their assimilation with Israelis.
More than half the workers are in the country illegally…
Advocates of foreign workers, who also come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania, say they are subject to almost slave conditions, and their employers often take away their passports and refuse to pay them.

Michael Forsythe: Who Owns Shares in Wang Jianlin’s Empire? Names Are Just a Start (New York Times)

James Palmer: Forced Disappearances, Brutality, and Communist China’s Politics of Fear (Vice)

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