Report: Corrupt Chinese Officials Take $123 Billion Overseas (Wall Street Journal):
China’s rulers say corrupt cadres are the nation’s worst enemy. Now, according to a report that was given widespread coverage this week in local media, Beijing says that enemy resides overseas, particularly in the U.S.
The 67-page report from China’s central bank looks at where corrupt officials go and how they get their money out. A favored method is to squirrel cash away with the help of loved ones emigrating abroad, schemes that often depend on fake documents.
News of the study got prominent notice this week in Chinese media. A sample headline from page one of the Shanghai Daily on Thursday: “Destination America For China’s Corrupt Officials.”
The reports said the study was posted to the website of China’s central bank. While the PDF document remains widely available in Chinese cyberspace, the report – dated June 2008 and identified as “confidential” – no longer appears on the People’s Bank of China website.
The central bank didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Though the report reads like an academic study, it doesn’t cite a clear conclusion.
Instead, it is broken into two main sections, the first starting with estimates that up to 18,000 corrupt officials and employees of state-owned enterprises have fled abroad or gone into hiding since the mid-1990s. They are suspected of pilfering coffers to the tune of 800 billion yuan, or $123 billion — a sum that works out to 2% of last year’s gross domestic product.
Destination America for China’s corrupt officials (Shanghai Daily):
America is the destination most favored by high-ranking corrupt Chinese officials fleeing the country with large sums of money, according to a report by China’s central bank.
Other popular destinations include Australia and the Netherlands.
Those unable to get visas for Western countries opt for temporary stays in small countries in Africa, Latin America and eastern Europe while they wait for a chance to move to more developed countries, the People’s Bank of China report said.
Low-ranking officials usually escape to neighboring countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Mongolia and Russia, it said.
The report cited research by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences which revealed that about 16,000 to 18,000 government employees, police officers, judicial officers, senior managers of government institutions and state-owned companies, as well as employees of Chinese organizations in foreign countries, had escaped abroad or gone missing since the middle of the 1990s.
The money they carried with them is said to add up to 800 billion yuan (US$123 billion).