Friday, August 14, 2009

Ryan Pyle Blog: The Presidents Son


Some blogs make me giggle, others can bring tears to my eyes. This one falls somewhere in the middle. I just wanted to write a bit about how similar China's version of paternal capitalism is with that of the United States. In a BBC article earlier this week it was reported that Hu Jintao's son runs a company that makes airport security scanners. His company is knee-deep in Africa; and Namibia recently launched a bribery case against his firm.

When reading this I instantly thought of George Bush Senior and his son. George Bush Junior got in all kinds of trouble as a private business man in Texas before his father had lost his patience bailing him out of trouble and decided to help engineer his political career; and the rest is history.

But Hu Jintao's case is a little bit different. It is common knowledge in China that all the big political bosses in the Communist Party have children who are surprisingly capable business men and women; go figure. It seems that most of the top leaders have sons who run massive investment companies, property companies or in some cases even state-run energy companies. But the message that this sends to people in China does much more damage than the small bribery cases in Africa.

You see, China is desperately trying to clean itself up. Corruption is blatant and everywhere, and while top leaders in Beijing have cleaned themselves up considerably, they've just simply passed the buck (literally) on to their very powerful children; who oddly enough don't have any interest in politics as long as business is good. The message this sends to small county governors in the Chinese countryside is that if the big guys up top can get their cake and eat it to, then I'm going to do the same. And of course "the people" suffer.

Capitalism, or state run capitalism, is a killer without independent checks and balances, and China likes the balances tipped just the way they are. So is China's push to stamp out corruption real? Sure, but it is selective at best and corrupt at worse.

Last year during the Olympics I was losing my mind waiting in line ups at airports around China as bags were x-rayed after they were collected from the baggage claim, as an extra security measure. At least now I know why there were twice as many xray machines in the airports then most would need. You gotta spread the wealth. The BBC story is below.
Copywrite BBC
China firm in Namibia bribe claim

Nuctech is a leading supplier of airport security scanners. Namibia is investigating allegations of bribery over a government contract with a Chinese state-owned firm that has links to President Hu Jintao's son.

Namibia's anti-corruption commission said it would like to question Hu Haifeng, but that he was not a suspect. Hu Haifeng was president of the firm, Nuctech, until last year.

Nuctech is suspected of bribing a Namibian consultancy in connection with a $56m (£34m) deal to supply scanners to Namibia's ports and airports. The co-owners of consultancy Teko Trading, Teckla Lameck and Kongo Mokaxwa, and Nuctech's Africa representative Yang Fan, were arrested last week and are still in custody. Teko Trading is alleged to have received $13.2m from Nuctech.

The Chinese firm is a global leader in X-ray scanners and security devices. Hu Haifeng, 38, was president of the firm until last year when he was promoted to a post with Tsinghua Holdings, the group that controls Nuctech and a number of other companies.

Ryan Pyle

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Ryan Pyle