Following up the CDIC post; whatever they are, they're going global, says Richard McGregor: —
This campaign is moving offshore in a big way. This is interesting on a number of levels. Remember, the party’s anti-graft body has no legal status. It enforces party discipline which extends beyond mere laws. But with this current enquiry, what is effectively an extralegal body is exerting extraterritorial powers. Caixin has already reported how PetroChina’s Canadian investments have been caught up in the Zhou investigation. The CDIC is also dispatching its investigators to other nations in search of the assets of “naked officials,” the term given to officials who have children and spouses living on their families’ ill-gotten gains abroad. Some countries are likely to quietly welcome the CDIC’s help. Just remember how China’s effort to extradite Lai Changxing, the fugitive from the billion-dollar Xiamen smuggling scandal, from Canada was caught up that country’s courts for years after he fled China in 1999. The case severely damaged Sino-Canadian relations for a decade. Countries such as Australia and New Zealand, favorite destinations for “naked officials,” do not want to have bi-lateral relations held hostage to domestic Chinese politics surrounding corruption. Hence, they have an incentive to quietly co-operate with the CDIC. Other counties may do so as well.
You'd have to bet on the UK being among them, given Cameron's China turn.
Elsewhere, and relatedly, the investigation into CCTV continues apace. You'll recall the basic format from previous posts on the Rui Chenggang affair: senior journalists and execs at the station form PR companies which make a simple offering to other companies: pay for good publicity, or pay to avoid bad publicity. Rui appears to have taken this one step further by forming a company which was then taken over by Edelman. Now Edelman's China head has vanished, apparently into police custody. Shortly before that happened, a senior Chinese PR practitioner wrote this:
What happened to Edelman could have happened to any of dozens of local and international PR firms. Rui had made himself a target, and Edelman is the largest PR firm in the world. But the rest of us have now been given a shot across our bows. Either we bite the bullet now, change course and adopt ethical tactics and practices, or we leave our firms, our people, and our livelihoods at the mercy of government caprice. If we don’t, this will happen again, and when it does we will all find that it will not be a single firm in the spotlight – it will be every PR practitioner in China.
Now that would be fun – to watch, at least. But summing up here, we have CDIC poised to run rampant and China business scandals going global in the oil, pharma (through GSK) and public relations sectors. Remember when I used to bang on about China exporting its internal chaos? This is what it looks like.