Chinese officials rush to withdraw US dollars and sell property as anti-graft war looms

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2013, 10:24am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 January, 2013, 11:18am

As the Communist Party’s disciplinary dog drums up efforts to crack down on corruption, party officials across the country are rushing to withdraw foreign currencies and sell their properties, reported Henan Business Daily on Wednesday.

Officials and their families have been withdrawing foreign currencies from banks all over the country. A total of 1.792 billion yuan (HK$2.23 billion) were taken out of banks in Guangdong province alone, said the report.

Banks in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian have also reported withdrawls made by officials and their relatives. 

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said they had also noticed a sharp rise in the volume of property transactions - mostly made by owners who are government employees and senior officials of state-owned enterprises - since November, according to the report.

The properties they were seeking to sell are mostly luxury units or houses, it said.

The cities where the largest number of transactions occurred include: Nanjing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Shenyang, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Jinan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu, said the report.

The commission recently announced it would draft and launch a five-year anti-corruption plan this year. They would also start spot checks on senior officials’ declared personal assets. This new move has been expected by many officials after the 18th party congress last year. 

Guangzhou’s mayor Chen Jianhua said on Wednesday that he would “take the lead” to disclose his asset if ordered to do so.

Meanwhile, Chinese media have reported a drop in the number of cars bearing military plaques that have visited night clubs and restaurants in Beijing.