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China removes cash stash reports quickly

HONG KONG (SE): An Internet post containing information from the massive offshore tax haven leak that named some high-ranking Chinese officials was speedily removed by censors, Radio Free Asia reported on April 4.

It claims that at least eight current or former members of the all-powerful Politburo standing committee are among the more than 140 political figures worldwide linked with the investigation into Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, for promoting offshore tax havens.

The United States of America-funded broadcaster says that the brother-in-law of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, Deng Jiagui, and the daughter of late former premier, Li Peng, Li Xiaolin, are included in the report.

Radio Free Asia says, “Chinese sensors took quick action to make it as difficult as possible, as news articles and comments on the leaks were rapidly removed from China’s tightly controlled Internet, despite being among the day’s top search terms on the Twitter-like service Sina Weibo.”

@dabingzhanjiangci noted, “By deleting posts at such speed, they are admitting their guilt, while another user, @yikesaiting said, “All the posts have now been deleted. They really are showing their guilt.”

After the post was deleted, a search revealed the message, “Sorry, there is an error with the page you visited, or it cannot be found.”

Radio Free Asia says that in 2012, Internet censors blocked access to the Bloomberg website after the news agency described in detail the multimillion-dollar assets believed to belong to Xi’s relatives while he was still vice-president.

US-based economist, Qin Weiping, told the Asian broadcaster that the leaks show that Xi’s long-running anti-corruption campaign is unlikely to have scratched the surface of official corruption in China.

“All the anti-corruption campaign has done up till now is treat the symptoms, not the causes,” Qin told Radio Free Asia on April 4.

“The entire political and financial elite have been robbing ordinary Chinese people of wealth, right from the Politburo standing committee all the way down to the village level of government,” he said.

“This is an elite that has been built up over the past few decades; they’re hardly going to start investigating their own behaviour or opposing it,” he concluded.

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