Promotion of young Chinese banker with alleged military links sparks controversy online

General's son Sun Jing's quick rise up the lender's ranks raises some eyebrows

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 4:14pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 10:57pm

A young Agricultural Bank of China executive, said to be the son of a general from a People’s Liberation Army unit whose ex-leader is now at the centre of a corruption probe, became a hot topic on social media after papers leaked online showed he was tipped for promotion at an unusually young age.

A leaked document, reportedly from bank management, surfaced online stating that ABC was promoting the British-educated Sun Jing, 30, to an unspecified higher position.

He is currently the deputy manager at one of the lender’s investment banking divisions, according to the document.

An ABC Beijing branch employee knowledgeable of the matter, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, confirmed with the South China Morning Post on Thursday that Sun was in line for promotion.

The employee said Sun’s father is 60-year-old Sun Huangtian, the deputy chief of the PLA logistics unit in charge of finance.

The elder Sun, a major general, was promoted to become deputy head the PLA's General Logistics Department in mid 2012, according to the website of the Ministry of Defence.

The previous holder of the position was Lieutenant General Gu Junshan, who was sacked earlier that year and recently charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power by the military procuratorate, or prosecutor’s office.

The leaked document about Sun Jing, which was reportedly passed around among the bank’s employees, caused some intrigue, particularly in social media where users questioned to what extent his family background played a part in his quick rise up the ranks. 

The younger Sun has a respectable record, graduating from Wuhan University and holding a master’s from the University of Aberdeen in the UK.

Prior to ABC, one of the “Big Four” state-owned banks in China, Sun Jing worked for the Bank of China and China Everbright Bank.

However, people with knowledge of the ranking system in the country’s state-owned banks, which they say is similar to government bureaucracy, pointed out that Sun was promoted to his deputy-bureau-chief-level position at the age of 27 – considered unusual as his peers are in their 30s or 40s.

The anonymous employee at ABC told the Post that Sun’s rise was considered out of the ordinary by colleagues and “didn’t seem to be in line with HR regulations”.

On Thursday, many mainland netizens also questioned the timing of the leak about the young banker's reported promotion, which comes days after Gu was indicted for graft and after Gu's former boss, former Central Military Commission vice-chairman Xu Caihou, was placed under investigation.

Academics and retired military officials have urged a public trial for Gu, but others say some aspects of the case dealing with his logistics job are deemed military secrets and should be kept classified.

Sun Jing could not be reached for a comment on Thursday.