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Corruption in China

China’s Communist Party warned to not make money on Taobao or WeChat: e-commerce seen as source of graft

China’s official newspaper for the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection gives a warning about independent sellers using e-commerce sites for profit-taking activities

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 January, 2016, 1:42pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 January, 2016, 3:06pm

Members of China’s Communist Party have been warned against making money through setting up online stores, as the country’s “mini business” sector continues to expand.

Cadres could be punished if they opened a personal store on e-commerce portals such as Taobao or social messaging sites like WeChat, the state-run China Discipline Inspection Newspaper said on Monday.

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Mainlanders are increasingly turning to sales sites run by individuals for small purchases such as imported food, cosmetics and clothing. The channels are perceived as often offering higher-quality goods, with chat groups relying on recommendations from other members.

But the party views e-commerce as a potential source for graft. Rule 88 of the discipline policy, which covers profit-making, forbids members from establishing a company for business, owning shares or securities of non-listed enterprises, buying or selling stocks or investing in other securities, engaging in paid intermediary activities, registering companies overseas or investing in them, as well as other profit-taking activities.

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The newspaper is the official media arm of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Members suspected of breaking the rule could be reprimanded or even expelled, depending on the severity of the case.

The paper also cited China’s Civil Servant Law that warns civil servants, many of whom are party members, must not “engage in or be part of profit-taking business”.