China warns thousands of officials with close ties to Big Tech

The statement came two days after Hangzhou Party Secretary Zhou Jiangyong was detained for “serious violations of discipline”…

China warned thousands of officials in Hangzhou – the city where many famous technology companies such as Alibaba’s e-commerce giant Jack Ma are located. The warning was accompanied by a request to remove any “conflicts of interest” that officials or their relatives had with the business.

Alibaba logo at this company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China – Photo: Reuters

According to the sheet Financial TimesThe statement was posted on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the anti-corruption body of the Chinese Communist Party, on August 23. The statement came two days after Hangzhou Party Secretary Zhou Jiangyong was detained for “serious violations of discipline” – a term commonly used to refer to corruption allegations against Chinese officials.

The CCDI statement did not link the Zhou investigation to any specific business or businessman. However, the statement came as the Chinese government tightened controls on the technology sector, in which Beijing implemented a series of measures to limit the power of large enterprises. best in this country.

The CCDI said 25,000 local officials and their relatives were at the center of a “self-criticism and self-correction” campaign in relation to local businesses, including “illegal borrowing.” . Authorities can investigate officials who have retired within the past three years.

The relationship between officials and businesses in Hangzhou has come under scrutiny from Chinese authorities after the $37 billion IPO of Ant Group, a financial technology company, came under scrutiny. owned by Alibaba, was suspended last year.

The CCDI added that Hangzhou officials will be held accountable for the business activities of their relatives, even if they are not personally involved in those activities.

According to new regulations of the Chinese Party and Government, senior officials are not allowed to manage industries and fields, including businesses run by their wives and children. However, they can take on such work if immediate family members work in lower positions in the business or only act as “advisors” to the business.

Mr. Zhou became Party Secretary of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, three years ago and has made great efforts to promote the development of the local technology sector.

“The Hangzhou government is committed to protecting businesses. However, the normal relationship between government and business cannot translate into benefits for officials, let alone allow businesses to manipulate politics,” said Li Chengdong, founder of Dolphin, a Beijing-based technology research organization.

Ant Group’s IPO should have been the largest-ever stock offering in the world. Mr. Xi himself made the decision to suspend the IPO, just days after Jack Ma publicly criticized China’s financial supervision authorities and the state-owned banking system. International observers commented that those criticisms of Jack Ma were the “failure” phase of the technology billionaire’s life.

China is still stepping up a campaign to tighten control over its big technology companies, focusing on issues such as monopolies, market manipulation, user data, etc. Alibaba, Tencent, Meituan, Didi… In April, Alibaba was fined $2.8 billion by Chinese authorities for alleged monopoly.

Recently, the campaign has also been expanded to address “social problems” in a number of areas such as private education, video games, etc. In addition, Beijing has also proposed a policy of “common prosperity”. ” to redistribute wealth, avoiding excessive concentration of income on a small group of people.

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