Former Chairman of Chinese State-Owned Enterprise Arrested
On Aug. 11, Shanghai’s prosecutor’s office approved the arrest
of former Bright Food Group chairman Wang Zongnan,
less than just two weeks after he began to be investigated.
Shanghai lawyer Zheng Enchong
says the speedy progress of the case is abnormal.
The Central inspection team has only been stationed
in Shanghai for a week so far.
Foreign media analyze that it’s an attack by Xi Jinping
on Jiang Zemin’s power base.
Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese Communist Party
(CCP) said late last year that the chair of Bright Food Group,
59-year-old Wang Zongnan, retired due to health reasons.
Bright Food, known for its “White Rabbit" brand of candy,
is controlled by the Shanghai government.
WSJ reports that Wang won credit at the company, “for leading
the acquisition of foreign brands,
most notably in 2012 when the company spent $1.9 billion
for control of British cereal maker Weetabix.
WSJ added, “Politically, Shanghai is known as
the traditional power base of Jiang Zemin, who was its mayor
and top party representative until 1989 when he was plucked
by Deng Xiaoping to serve as China’s president."
Among those who rose along with Mr. Jiang was one of his
successors in the top local party post, Chen Liangyu, who
served as Shanghai’s Communist Party secretary until he was
fired in a corruption probe in 2006 and later jailed for 18 years.
WSJ reports that Chen was “one of Shanghai’s powerful
district chiefs" and Wang served under him in the early 1990s.
The party shifted Wang to Bright Food
the same year Chen was fired.
The Chinese language website of the BBC reports that
Bright Food was formerly Shanghai Yimin Food Factory.
Jiang was Yimin’s first deputy director in the 1950s,
and has kept a close personal relationship with the group.
Shanghai lawyer Zheng Enchong
told NTD that Yimin had been a failure.
It’s passed through the hands of four different
governmental organs in Shanghai,
yet it’s finances remained in deficit.
In 2003, workers laid off by Yimin broke out in protests.
Jiang had Chen establish Bright Food Group in 2006.
Since then, Yimin has been in charge of Shanghai’s food
industry, collecting all the profits gained through the industry.
Zheng Enchong: “It was Jiang’s idea. Yimin became
incorporated and all Shanghai’s food industry had to follow it.
Yimin became the leader, renamed as Bright Food Group.
Jiang was trying to give people the ideas that he’s never been
in deficit, his company is great, it makes billions of profits.
That’s what Jiang wanted."
Zheng says that Jiang manipulated
the establishment of Bright Food Group.
The person in charge of it must be approved by Jiang.
Chen recommended that Jiang hire his crony, Wang.
Since the announcement of Wang’s investigation on July 28
to his formal arrest, just 13 days have passed.
Zheng Enchong says such a speedy investigation is abnormal,
and analyzes that it may be the tactics of Shanghai Party
Secretary Han Zheng, in an attempt to save himself
from the political storm in Shanghai.
Zheng Enchong says that Han Zheng, just like Chen,
was one of Jiang’s favorites in Shanghai.
He was able to survive until now
because he had surrendered to Hu Jintao.
Zheng Enchong: “When Jiang was the Party Secretary
of Shanghai, Han Zheng was the deputy secretary
of the Communist Youth League in Shanghai,
and Huang Yuejun was the secretary.
After the Tiananman Square massacre,
Jiang was transferred to the central government.
He went to Shanghai and expressed his satisfaction
with Huang and Han for their performance during the events.
He said that the Communist Youth League was supportive of
them in Shanghai, and they are the two seeds there."
Former Communist Party secretary of China’s State Council,
Yu Meisun, says that Jiang advocated quietly getting rich.
Thus, his clique must have been quietly making a fortune too.
Yu Meisun: “Whether you’re a high or low level official,
you shouldn’t engage in quietly making any fortune.
What he advocates violates common sense.
An official who gets complacent making huge profits while
in power is bound take a hard fall eventually.
It violates the rules for officials as well as the universal values;
It is not the way to be an official."
The central inspection teams have been stationed in Shanghai
since the end of July.
Investigations will continue until the end of September.
Many officials closely connected to Jiang have been sacked,
including former Central Military Commission
Vice Chairman Xu Caihou, and former Central Politics
and Law Commission secretary Zhou Yongkang.
Hong Kong media report that Guo Boxiong is another former
Central Military Commission official also being investigated
amidst Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.
Zheng Enchong says that institutional change is more
important than sacking a few corrupt officials.
He says that Xi taking the lead to declare his own property
will work better than sacking 100 Zhou Yongkangs.
Interview & Edit/QingXue Post-Production/ZhongYuan