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Study: Chinese anti-corruption cases quadruple in two years

Over the last two years, probes have targeted local governments and state-run enterprises. The latest round of investigations have focused on financial institutions.

By Brooks Hays
China's Communist Party has issued a long-awaited plan for overhauling bloated state industries that would retain the party's dominance in the economy. Pictured, a China Merchants Bank branch in Beijing on Sept. 14, 2015. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
China's Communist Party has issued a long-awaited plan for overhauling bloated state industries that would retain the party's dominance in the economy. Pictured, a China Merchants Bank branch in Beijing on Sept. 14, 2015. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

BEIJING, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- According to political consultants with the Eurasia Group, China's leadership will continue to lead a larger number of anti-corruption investigations.

So far this year, China's Central Communist Party has initiated 83 probes of alleged corruption. That's more than quadruple the number of investigations undertaken in 2013.

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"These actions have sent the strong message to senior officials and executives that if they do not assist Xi's reform agenda, they will find themselves in the cross-hairs of his anti-graft authorities," analysts Erica Downs and Evan Medeiros wrote in a new report on the subject.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, some Chinese business experts suggest the anti-graft investigations have some businesses in China frightened -- scared to make deals.

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There have allegedly been concerns voiced from within the Communist Party that the investigations could hamper economic growth in the nation of 1.39 billion people.

But Downs, Medeiros and their partners at Eurasia Group believe the investigations will have long-term positive benefits, which is why they believe the investigations are here to stay.

Over the last two years, probes have targeted local governments and state-run enterprises. The latest round of investigations have focused on financial institutions.

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"Never before has a single sector been so deliberately targeted in a single inspection round," report authors wrote.

Earlier this week, billionaire Guo Guangchang, one of China's most powerful financial tycoons, was picked up by authorities at Shanghai's airport after flying in from Hong Kong. It's not clear whether Guo is being investigated for corruption or assisting investigators in a separate probe.

Even if corruption probes help bloated state-run businesses become more competitive in the long run, stock markets in Asia could suffer from growing anxieties in the short term. Hong Kong trading was suspended on Thursday after Guo was reported to be missing.

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