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January 23, 2014


Richard J

It reminds me that my main thought on reading (rather disappointing) Former People was 'Christ, these were the last elite naive enough to keep all their capital domestically, weren't they?'


Not the last, Americans still seem to keep their money domestically. Which is why the gold confiscation order (or something to that effect, I might have heard the exaggerated version) of Roosevelt had such a big effect (not least on "gold clauses" of long-dated contracts).

China is a special case because there has been no time in the last five hundred years when it has been safe to keep money inside China if you don't wanted it confiscated by (choose one or more of following) emperors, warlords, ambitious governors, foreign competitors, etc. Since Swiss banking wasn't available, people tended to stuff gold bars under their mattresses and (tried to) keep mum.

When my grandfather died (this was during the Cultural Revolution, I think) they found jars and jars of currency dipped in oil (to prevent rotting) under his bed.


Dipped in oil... some image.

Jamie, on a related subject what do you make of the Wen Jiabao letter? Can Xi really safely go after someone that senior? Would he want to?


There's no sign that any of Wen's allies are being taken down (unlike with Zhou Yongkou) so I don't think CDIC are pointed in his direction, though having said that Wen rose as a kind of professional understrapper, switching from Zhao Zhiyang to Zhu Rongji after 1989, rather than as a horizontal networker. Bit of a pathetic figure now more than anything else . But it is looking increasingly likely that Zhou is going for a ride, so yeah it looks like the tiger hunt can reach the PBSC.

Dan Hardie

Meanwhile, have you read this gory tale? Very much of interest to most of the readers here, I would have thought. Sample:

'In June 2006 the body of Allan Chappelow, a reclusive and wealthy retired journalist and author, was found buried beneath a enormous pile of book proofs in his home, No 9 Downshire Hill, close to Hampstead Heath.

'Police had gone to the house after being alerted by his bank, HSBC, in the wake of suspicious transactions and his failure to respond to their inquiries. He had been battered to death. Wax found on his body suggested that he might have been tortured.

'Nearby lived Wang Yam, a Chinese dissident, whose grandfather had been Mao's third in command, while his father had been a Red Army general....'

All this *and* a link to Bo Xilai, plus British spooks.

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