Mar 12

Translation: Why aren’t we requiring finanacial disclosure by common folks?

Written by DJ on Thursday, March 12th, 2009 at 6:39 pm
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[NOTE] This is a translation of a report filed by (王和岩) Wang Heyan in (财经网) Caijing Net two days ago. The content of this report has been making quick rounds in various Chinese Internet forums. It was also picked by other news medias.

The Communist Party Group of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC) is staying at the Friendship Hotel. The members of this group are mostly current and former chairmen of CPPCC at province, city and regional levels. They are all experienced officials. [Note: CPPCC is generally where officials are parked after losing or retiring from power (i.e., active party or government positions).] Since they are no longer in the administrative structure and are not constrained in what they can say as before, I had high hopes to dig out something interesting from them.

However, things didn’t exactly go as I planned. Even though they are no longer in power, they kept their arrogance dignity intact, and are simply inaccessible.

Thankfully not all are such types. I waited for two days at the hotel and finally caught up with one member. As he exited from the cafeteria, I approached and followed him. This gentleman looked affable. So I took the chance to ask: “*** Chairman, what do you think about the concept of financial disclosure by officials?”

He smiled and replied: “I am sorry. I didn’t study this issue.”

I asked: “Xinjiang and Zhejiang are both trying out this regulation in some areas. Is your province interested in testing this reform idea?

He said: “I don’t know.”

“Did your group discuss this topic in the last couple of days?” I persisted.

He kept on walking and said: “No. The Communist Party Group didn’t bring up this.”

I pushed further: “Would you raise this issue and propose its adaptation?”

He looked at me and asked back: “No I won’t. If there is to be financial disclosures, why not ask common folks to disclose their finances? Why aren’t bosses of enterprises telling their workers their profits?”

Financial disclosure by common folks? I couldn’t believe my ears. Then I asked: “Bosses? Are you referring to senior managers at state owned enterprises?”

His reply was very clear. “No. I meant owners of private companies.”

I was astonished and couldn’t come up with more questions.

It is common for officials to claim that they are no better than common folks. Well, it seems that they are truly trying to be common folks in this matter.

[FURTHER NOTE] Xinhua just came out with a report on Xinjiang’s trial of financial disclosure rules for officials.

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6 Responses to “Translation: Why aren’t we requiring finanacial disclosure by common folks?”

  1. Raj Says:

    Haha, for a moment, DJ, I thought you’d conducted the interview.

    Thanks for posting this. I’m not surprised that these people don’t support disclosure, though the rebuttal was rather daft. Common people don’t have access to public money/have the influence that senior officials do!

  2. DJ Says:


    Re: Haha, for a moment, DJ, I thought you’d conducted the interview.

    Haha. Me too! I got to say, I felt this reporter’s writing style was rather familiar. 🙂

  3. Raj Says:

    Delusions of grandeur, old chap. 😉

  4. Don Tai Says:

    It’s a great idea, but don’t hold your breath. Here in North America we disclose (personal or corporate) when we declare income in order to pay personal corporate income tax. To not disclose is the realm of the underground economy. China’s financial frameworks are as yet undeveloped. I’m sure it is the same in Europe.

  5. TonyP4 Says:

    I’ve several simple and dumb questions.

    1. Mayor X (could be any mayor in China). You’re making $5,000 US a year, where you get money to drive a $50,000 car?

    2. All the Chinese students in Boston area owning cars costing more than $30,000. Are you parents working for the government? If so, how much they’re making?

    3. The traffic officers (those giving tickets if no money for the ‘quick fix’). Where did you get the money to build a mansion?

    4. My US friend who ran a corporation in China. Why you need to hire the son of a major general to be the president of your company and he did not have credential?

    Examples abundant. The answer is a C word. Hard to fix as it is all over. A two-party system can kick out the corrupted one. I do not say a true democracy with two-party system is good for China at least for my generation. Hong Kong controls corruption by forming a special agency with enough power to kick all the corrupt police force to Canada and Australia.

    As in my other post, enough China bashing for the day and I like to see China to prosper in all fronts.

  6. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I think Raj #1 says it all wrt the question posed in this thread.

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