Posts Tagged ‘Caixin’

‘Read this quickly before it’s gone’: how China’s media covered or ignored the arrest of Huawei executive

December 7, 2018

Logo von Huawei (Reuters/H. Hanschke)

Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper reported on Wednesday that Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), the daughter of the founder of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Ren Zhengfei (任正非), had been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States on charges of violating US trade sanctions on Iran.

Meng is also the deputy chair of Huawei, which in recent months has faced an international backlash over concerns the company is linked to the Chinese state and poses a security risk.

Meng Wanzhou

Meng Wanzhou. File photo: Huawei.

Little information is available about Meng’s arrest, which reportedly occurred on December 1. Ian McLeod, a spokesman for Canada’s Justice Department, told the Globe and Mail: “As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time. The ban was sought by Ms Meng.”

So far, Chinese mainstream media have been largely silent on the case. A handful of media have picked up an early news release from the official China News Service that closely follows the press release from the Chinese Embassy in Canada.

That release registered a strong protest, saying that Meng’s arrest had “seriously harmed the human rights of the victim.”

The China Daily, published by the Information Office of the State Council, released an article in Chinese earlier today quoting the official release from Huawei saying that Meng has done nothing wrong and they are confident there will be a fair result.

Huawei Canada

Huawei, Canada. Photo: Wikicommons.

The official Xinhua News Agency did not release a report in English until around 5PM today Beijing time. That report again closely followed the remarks from the Chinese Embassy in Canada and the official Huawei release.

As of 8:30PM Beijing time there was still no Xinhua story in Chinese carried prominently on the service’s website, though far down the list of news was a transcript of the foreign ministry press conference.

Xinhua was focussed instead on Xi Jinping’s trip to Spain, Portugal and Latin America, and on the 40th anniversary of China’s “reform and opening” policy.

No doubt the timing of the Meng Wanzhou story, coming less than two weeks ahead of the formal anniversary on December 18, will also be a point of great sensitivity for the Party leadership.

Xinhua

Xinhua homepage, December 6 2018. Photo: Screenshot.

There were also stories on both the Chinese and English sides of Caixin. Interestingly, though, while the English report is prominent, the Chinese report was pushed lower down at around 4pm Beijing time, emphasising in the headline the fierce response from the Chinese Embassy in Canada — and two hours later that story was not visible at all on the Chinese homepage.

The English-language page at Caixin gave the Meng Wanzhou arrest story central play, and by 5pm Beijing time also paired it with the story of Huawei’s troubles in the UK.

The Chinese homepage of Caixin at around 4pm Beijing time on December 6 showed the Huawei story of the arrest of Meng Wanzhou well below other featured articles.

By 5pm Beijing time on the same day, no stories about Huawei or its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, were visible on the Chinese-language Caixin homepage.

Caixin

The English-language page at Caixin gives the Meng Wanzhou arrest story central play, and by 5PM Beijing time also pairs it with the story of Huawei’s troubles in the UK. Photo: Screenshot.

But lack of information on this breaking story, and relative silence from traditional and state-run media cannot forestall the conversation in China. There has been a flurry of chatter and speculation on Weibo and WeChat, although of course, that conversation is in a state of constant emergence and disappearance.

Here, courtesy of the Weiboscope, are a few of the more recent Weibo posts that have been removed, most dealing directly with the original report from the Globe and Mail:

  • 2018-12-06 13:29:55 | #ImmigrantObserver # MengWanzhou (Sabrina Wanzhou Meng) born 1972, is the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, and Meng Dongbo (孟东波), the father of her mother, Meng Jun (孟军), served as deputy governor of Sichuan province. She at the very least has Chinese, American and Canadian passports!
  • 2018-12-06 07:31:11 | [Meng Wanzhou, Daughter of Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei, arrested in Canada] Canada’s Global and Mail newspaper reported that the daughter of Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, has been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the U.S. American law enforcement authorities have said that Meng Wanzhou is suspected of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. http://t.cn/EyXG9Ao
  • 2018-12-06 07:24:50 | [Foreign Media: Ren Zhengfei’s daughter and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has been arrested in Vancouver] News, Beijing time, December 6. According to Canada’s Globe and Mail, quoting Ian McLeod of Canada’s Justice Department, Canada has arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. http://t.cn/EyXbNi9

Marco Rubio

@marcorubio

If @Huawei has been helping violate US sanctions by transferring US technology to they should be barred from operating in the US or from purchasing US technology.

488 people are talking about this

A Weibo search for “Meng Wanzhou” directs readers to two posts from state media, one from CCTV Online and the other from the Global Times. The CCTV post is a short video relaying the response from China’s Foreign Ministry, calling on Canada and the U.S. to immediate release Meng and to “protect the legitimate rights of the person involved.”

The Global Times post similarly focuses on what at present seems right now to be the core message of the leadership: Meng must be immediately released.

The battle by ordinary citizens and other non-official voices to have a say on the Meng case, over and against the official urge to control the development of the issue online, could be glimpsed openly on social media.

In a post made around 8:30pm to Weibo, Zhu Wei (朱伟), an entrepreneur with more than two million followers on the platform, posted the following message:

“This topic is so sensitive. The headline article on my WeChat public account ‘Teacher Zhu Wei’ (朱伟老师), ‘Chinese Embassy in Canada: We Demand the Immediate Return of Meng Wanzhou’s Freedom’ was deleted by the relevant departments. Right now I’m reposting it on Weibo, so read it really quickly before it’s gone.”

Huawei phone

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr.

In a Weibo post, entrepreneur Zhu Wei tells readers to quickly read his post already deleted from the WeChat platform — before it once again disappears.

The article in question by Zhu Wei, offered a rundown of the official statements from the foreign ministry and from Huawei, and then included a paragraph by paragraph translation of the original report from the Globe and Mail.

Another post from the Weibo account of the Putian Media Group (莆田广播电视台) offered readers a video from talk Meng Wanzhou gave in English on September 26 at the World Academic Summit in Singapore.

The post, which bore the hashtag “#MengWanZhouArrested,” noted that Meng’s talk had been about “how to promote industry innovation.” But the video was soon disabled, yielding the message: “We’re sorry, this video cannot be displayed. Please view another video.”

Some commenting on WeChat and other platforms voiced anger over Meng’s arrest, viewing it through the lens of US-China competition, as a provocative act and a sign that the United States and other Western countries want to keep China down, even stripping it of its “right to develop.”

Wechat

File photo: Sinchen.Lin/Flickr.

In a piece shared widely on WeChat, Mei Xinyu (梅新育), a financial writer with more than one million followers on Weibo, wrote:

“Finally, I want to emphasise again the assessment I had a few days ago: through equal and rational dialogue a new cold war between China and the US can be avoided, and this would be a great thing for both countries and for the world.

“But the sky rains when it wants to, and girls marry when the time comes, and if certain people insist on foisting a ‘new cold war’ upon us, China has sufficient courage to meet this challenge, upholding China’s right to development in the midst of this struggle.”

Republished with permission from the China Media Project. 

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/12/07/read-quickly-gone-chinas-media-covered-ignored-arrest-huawei-executive/

Advertisements

Police harassment of Chinese reporter sparks anger and apology

November 21, 2018

“Reporters being ‘accompanied’ [in China] seems to be becoming a new normal.”

A Chinese environmental journalist’s account of police harassment while reporting on a chemical spill has sparked widespread condemnation online and an apology from the police.

Chinese financial publication Caixin on Sunday published an article by reporter Zhou Chen describing how local authorities had trailed her for days as she reported on a leak of a petrochemical substance in the coastal city of Quanzhou in the southeastern province of Fujian.

Image result for China, police, photos

Late on Nov. 11, the last evening of her trip, four policemen entered her room without permission and searched her belongings while she was in her pajamas, Zhou wrote.

“After the police left, I was frightened into a state of indecision for a long while. How could they just barge right into the hotel room of a law-abiding citizen who had registered at check-in,” she wrote.

On social media she likened the experience to being the subject of a police raid carried out to catch prostitutes and their clients.

The article set of a wave of criticism of the police on social media, leading to a rare apology from the local authorities and for one officer to be suspended and investigated, state media said.

While foreign correspondents in China often write about their experiences of harassment by police, it is unusual for Chinese journalists to publicly complain.

Many local authorities and officials continue to see public oversight as “nitpicking” and in response “play little tricks” to avoid journalists, the official Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily Overseas Edition wrote.

Other journalists also came forward with their own stories of police following them and interfering in their reporting.

One female journalist wrote of an incident in 2014 when a male police officer had forced her to provide a urine sample in a hotel bathroom with glass walls.

“Reporters being ‘accompanied’ seems to be becoming a new normal within journalism,” wrote another Caixin journalist, Liang Yingfei.

Once, while reporting in northern China, she was called back to her hotel by reception staff who said there was a leak in her room, but once she arrived she discovered it was a ruse by officials who were waiting in the hotel lobby, Liang wrote.

In another case, one of Liang’s interviewees called her and said he had been repeatedly investigated after speaking to her for a story.

“All I could do was repeatedly comfort him by saying that reporting is not a crime and neither is accepting interviews,” Liang wrote.

Some social media commentators said the case reflected a tendency of officials to abuse their authority.

“We continuously stress the need for ‘law-based governance’, but … officials can abuse public power whenever they want in order to protect their position,” one user wrote.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie

Reuters

After US-China clash at APEC, all eyes shift to the Trump-Xi meeting in Argentina

November 19, 2018
  • Investors will watch the upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina for clues of any easing — or escalation — in tensions between the two countries, analysts said on Monday.
  • Differences between the world’s two biggest economies were on full display at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit over the weekend, resulting in the group’s failure to agree on a joint communique for the first time in its history.

Image result for china, u.s., flags

CNBC
November 19, 2018

Trade war is the number one risk to global outlook, S&P says  

Investors and world leaders alike will be glued to the upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina, hoping for clues to what’s next.

“One gets the sense that he’s (Trump) going to be a bit tougher with China” compared with Mexico and Canada, said Paul Gruenwald, chief economist at S&P Global Ratings. The G-20 meeting of the world’s developed economies takes place in Buenos Aires from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.

Trump criticized Mexico and Canada for months, claiming they took advantage of U.S. companies through trade, but the three countries reached a new trilateral deal at the end of September to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The approach to China has been different. Trump has repeatedly attacked the country for stealing intellectual property, creating barriers to American companies that try to operate in China, and for the massive trade imbalance between the two countries.

“I’m not particularly optimistic about a walk-back in trade tensions in the next six months.”

-Hannah Anderson, global market strategist, J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Differences between the world’s two biggest economies were on full display at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit over the weekend, resulting in the group’s failure to agree on a joint communique for the first time in its history.

Gruenwald said he’s not surprised there were no new developments between the U.S. and China at the APEC summit in Papua New Guinea. He called the G-20 “a better forum” to discuss such issues.

“I really think the big action’s going to be in Argentina in a couple of weeks, so let’s see what happens,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday, adding that “no one really knows” what will come out of the meeting.

In Buenos Aires, the two presidents are expected to meet each other with trade high on their agenda. Tensions between the two countries have dominated economic headlines this year, with both sides imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s products.

U.S. and China could make trade progress, but long-term problems remain: Stephen Roach

U.S. and China could make trade progress, but long-term problems remain: Stephen Roach  

The trade fight has resulted in the International Monetary Fund downgrading its global growth outlook for this year and next. American banking group Citi said some of its biggest clients have made plans to shift elements of their supply chains to circumvent those additional tariffs, because they expect negotiations between the U.S. and China to last more than a year.

Worries that U.S.-China tensions could impede growth have also rattled global markets. Hannah Anderson, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, advises investors to prepare for the rift between the two economic giants to drag on.

“I’m not particularly optimistic about a walk-back in trade tensions in the next six months,” Anderson told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday.

“If there is an agreement or if there are some positive headlines out of G-20, it’s much more likely that it’s an effort to cool tensions and a symbolic statement of intent, rather than actual substantive change in resolving the trade tensions between the two countries,” she said.

Includes videos:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/19/trade-war-what-happens-when-trump-meets-xi-jinping-at-argentina-g-20.html

Related:

  (Monday’s Asian Markets Up)

.
.

China’s former top trade negotiator questions China’s trade war strategy

November 19, 2018

“China’s economy and economic policies have been on a divergent course from market economics… accelerating in the last four or five years…” — “fundamental conflict between China and the United States and other countries Europe, Japan, Australia”

China’s former top trade negotiator has questioned Beijing’s strategy in the trade row with Washington, offering a rare window into a policy disagreement in the Communist-ruled country.

Long Yongtu, who paved the way for the country’s admission to the World Trade Organization, suggested the government erred by immediately retaliating against Washington tariffs by imposing levies on soybeans from the United States.

“I hope when you start hitting back you’ll avoid hitting agricultural products,” and leave them for last, Long said he advised before the trade war’s first tariff volley this summer.

Image result for china, cargo, ship, photos

“Instead from the very start we hit their agricultural products and soybeans,” China’s former chief representative for trade negotiations said at a a Caixin media business forum on Sunday.

China slapped 25 percent tariffs on American soybeans — its single largest import from the US — and other products in July immediately after Donald Trump fired at $50 billion in Chinese imports.

The move was widely seen as an attack on Trump’s agricultural base of electoral support, and tacitly acknowledged as such by Chinese officials.

“I said from my experience in China-US trade, agricultural products are very sensitive, soybeans are very sensitive,” Long said.

When China was negotiating its WTO entry, the US wanted to bring politics into the discussion, said Long.

“But if you talk politics you will never reach a deal,” Long warned, recommending the world’s top two economic giants engage narrowly on trade and avoid the larger strategic rivalry to strike a deal.

But Long’s interlocutor on stage, and during the WTO negotiations nearly two decades ago, former US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, cautioned that the gulf between the two powers was expanding.

“China’s economy and economic policies have been on a divergent course from market economics… accelerating in the last four or five years,” Barshefsky told the Caixin forum.

The shift to a state-led system is a “fundamental conflict between China and the United States and other countries Europe, Japan, Australia”, she said.

“It is difficult to resolve.”

AFP

EU calls for concrete opening steps on trade from China

November 2, 2018

European companies want the same opportunities in China that Chinese firms enjoy in Europe

The European Union on Thursday called for China to take concrete steps to further open its market to foreign firms and provide a level playing field, saying it would not sign up to any political statement at next week’s major import fair in Shanghai.

The EU’s statement comes on the eve of a trade expo that Beijing hopes to use to signal its willingness to narrow trade deficits and assuage outside concern about its trade practices.

Critics see the China International Import Expo, or CIIE, as an ill-conceived event that is less about business and more about political posturing amid trade tensions between China and the United States.

The EU has many of the same complaints as the United States when it comes to Chinese trade practices and the treatment of foreign firms.

Image result for CIIE, import fair in Shanghai, photos

“For us, as one of China’s most important trading partners, success will be measured by the timely, concrete and systemic measures that China implements,” the EU said.

“These measures should go beyond tariff adjustments and aim to address the many long-standing trade and investment concerns. Our expectation is a clear-cut statement by the Chinese government which lays out details and timelines for such measures,” it added.

“As it is a country-specific initiative that focuses on imports into/opening-up the Chinese market, we would not endorse any joint political CIIE statement.”

Underscoring European concerns, a new strategy paper from Germany’s influential BDI industry federation calls on firms to reduce their dependence on the Chinese market, according to a draft seen by Reuters, in a sign of rising concern over Beijing’s state-driven economic model.

Also on Thursday, Germany and France urged Beijing to do more to address concerns about the business environment through “concrete and systematic measures”.

In a rare joint op-ed in the business magazine Caixin, the German and French ambassadors to China said European businesses should have the same opportunities in China as Chinese industries have in Europe.

French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert and German Ambassador Clemens von Goetze said the expo was timely.

“French and German companies are looking forward to China demonstrating that it will not waver and will deepen its opening-up and reform policy in order to create a level playing field for foreign businesses in China,” their article said.

Western governments and businesses have long complained about discriminatory Chinese policies and market access restrictions.

“International businesses operating in China are awaiting a more holistic reform agenda to increase international investment and resolve the existing challenges,” the op-ed said. “We encourage China to address these issues through concrete and systematic measures that go beyond tariff adjustments.”

China should introduce quicker, scientifically-based procedures for agricultural products (SPS), abolish all joint venture requirements, ensure that implementation of cybersecurity legislation does not create barriers to business or discriminatory practices, and better protect intellectual property rights, it said.

But more also needs to be done, giving European companies the same opportunities in China that Chinese firms enjoy in Europe, they added.

“The Shanghai expo comes at just the right time. Forty years after their inception, China should give the reform and opening-up policies fresh impetus and create new political and economic momentum for foreign business,” they wrote.

(This version of the story has been refiled to add dropped word “to” in first paragraph)

Additional reporting by Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by Kim Coghill & Simon Cameron-Moore

Reuters

Related:

US-China trade war set to heat up

May 6, 2018

The US-China trade fight threatens to resume and intensify after President Donald Trump’s top officials left Beijing last week without having won major concessions to their aggressive economic demands.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin waves to reporters as he arrives for a meeting in Beijing last week. Trade talks ...
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin waves to reporters as he arrives for a meeting in Beijing last week. Trade talks reportedly did not go well. Andy Wong

Leaked documents seen by The Australian Financial Review show the US requested that the bilateral US trade deficit be slashed by at least $US200 billion by 2020. It also demanded the elimination of Chinese trade barriers, an end to China’s subsidisation of high-tech manufacturing and an end to China’s forced technology transfer from US firms.

Separately, the White House on Sunday lashed the Chinese Communist Party’s “Orwellian” campaign against American airlines, after Beijing’s aviation regulator threatened to punish foreign carriers, including Qantas, if they didn’t change their websites to declare Taiwan part of China.

“The United States strongly objects to China’s attempts to compel private firms to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available content,” the White House statement said.

The US-China trade fight threatens to resume and intensify after President Donald Trump's top officials left Beijing ...
The US-China trade fight threatens to resume and intensify after President Donald Trump’s top officials left Beijing last week without having won major concessions. ANDY WONG

“We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens.”

China issued a brief statement on Friday calling the talks “candid, efficient and constructive” – but officials have made it clear they consider the US demands unreasonable. In a rare interview, China’s central bank governor Yi Gang said on Saturday that his country should not be blamed for the US-China trade deficit, which he said was caused by low American savings rates.

“It is a macro issue. The fundamental reason for the US trade deficit lies in its low saving rate and the gap between saving and investment,” Mr Yi said in an interview published on the cover of China’s Caixin magazine.

“At present, the US has an expanding fiscal deficit, increasing investment and a declining savings rate,” he said.

“The US deficit is very likely to keep expanding and it is quite difficult to solve trade deficit problem.”

David Rowe

Analysts said China would never accept the eight-point set of US demands laid out ahead of the meetings in Beijing last week, particularly a stipulation that China cut off subsidies and government support for industries targeted in President Xi Jinping’s signature “Made in China 2025” industrial plan to bolster its technology sector.

During largely fruitless trade negotiations on Thursday and Friday, Beijing called for Washington to end its opposition to China being recognised as a market economy in the World Trade Organisation, and threatened to treat the US as a non-market economy, The Financial Times reported.

The talks failed to yield any immediate sign of compromise, as both sides dug in their heels.

In China, investors on social media platforms said they were preparing for a volatile week on local markets as hopes of resolving the trade impasse dissolved. Citibank US strategist Andrew Hollenhorst said: “Trade and geopolitical headlines may continue to move markets.”

Unless a deal is soon struck, the US is due as soon as mid-May to begin executing on some of the threatened $US150 billion in tariffs and flagged investment restrictions against China.

China had previously vowed to retaliate, including against American farmers and manufacturers, and there are signs it has already slowed up buying produce such as soybeans.

The two days of US-China trade talks ended sooner than hoped, with US officials returning to Washington with little to celebrate.

The White House said “frank” discussions were held and Mr Trump would determine the next steps.

“There is consensus within the administration that immediate attention is needed to bring changes to United States-China trade and investment relationship,” the White House said.

Bill Bishop, an American China commentator and writer for Axios, said the trade talks had “sputtered out”.

“The US-China trade talks that just ended appear to have yielded very little progress,” he wrote.

“The US presented a very forward-leaning document with aggressive timelines that, if agreed to, would lead to massive structural changes throughout the Chinese system.”

The group of seven senior US officials met with Chinese officials led by Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser.

But in a possibly negative sign, the talks did not extend into the weekend and the Americans did not meet with President Xi.

China’s state news, Xinhua, said: “Both sides realised that there are some relatively big differences on some issues. And more work needs to be done to achieve more progress.”

The four-page memo outlining the US demands, replete with detailed list, including a reduction of the annual $US375 billion US goods trade deficit with China, by $US100 billion in the next year and at least $US200 billion by 2020.

The US wants to curtail the “Made in China 2025” program, including by strengthening intellectual property rights for US companies operating in China and ending Beijing’s funding for special industries deemed of strategic importance.

After the US government recently banned Chinese telecommunications group ZTE from buying American technology parts in response to sanction breaches, China asked the US to stop restrictions on US exports of high-tech parts.

Economists said it was still in China’s interests to avert a trade war, but the US had made it difficult by issuing such hardline demands. In the Caixin interview, Mr Yi said: “Both China and US should take an objective approach on the trade deficit. We should be aware that this is a structural problem and also a long-term problem which requires rational observation and solution. Both sides needs to work together to solve the trade problem between China and US. ”

There are signs that the breakdown in trade talks is being reflected in other diplomatically-sensitive issues, such as China’s militarisation of artificial islands in the South China Sea, and Beijing’s sensitivities over references to Taiwan.

Sources confirmed Qantas was included in a list of global airlines China’s civil aviation authority wrote to last month warning them against referring to Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau as separate countries in any public. As reported by The Australian Financial Review in January, Qantas said at the time it was “correcting” the way it referred to “some Chinese territories” on its website. The Australian government has not commented on the matter so far.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/politics/world/uschina-trade-war-set-to-heat-up-20180505-h0zov9#ixzz5Eif312xs
Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

China’s president orders arrest of CEFC’s founder Ye Jianming, ending entrepreneur’s stellar rise as one of China’s oil tsars — Funded by China’s state banks

March 1, 2018

AFP

© AFP/File | CEFC’s rapid expansion in China’s state-dominated oil universe and emergence as a major player in world oil markets has raised questions about its backing inside China

BEIJING (AFP) – Shares of two firms linked to Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy tumbled Thursday after a report that its high-flying chairman was under investigation.Ye Jianming — dubbed China’s “newest oil baron” by Forbes magazine in 2016 — quickly built CEFC China Energy into a global energy powerhouse, expanding into Eastern Europe, Africa and the Gulf States, and agreeing to buy 14 percent of Russian oil giant Rosneft last year.

Image result for Ye Jianming, photos

Ye Jianming

But Chinese financial news magazine Caixin, citing anonymous sources, reported that Ye has been put under investigation over links to a former Communist Party chief accused of graft.

The CEFC China Energy conglomerate itself is not publicly listed. But following the report, shares in Shenzhen-listed subsidiary CEFC Anhui International Holding fell by as much as 9.85 percent before closing down 4.45 percent, while affiliate CEFC Hong Kong Financial Investment Company dropped by almost 23 percent on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng.

Both companies distanced themselves from Ye in separate stock filings.

“Ye Jianming does not hold any position at (CEFC Anhui), there is no direct relationship with our company, and he is not the company’s actual controller,” the Shenzhen-listed unit of CEFC China Energy said in a stock filing prompted by the Caixin report.

The Hong Kong company said its directors “noted there are press reports today about Mr. Ye Jianming” but stressed that he did not hold any directorship and is not involved in the management of the its operations.

The Caixin report did not specify the nature of the investigation into the oil tycoon though it noted “Chinese authorities have requested Ye’s assistance in a graft investigation” of a former provincial Communist Party chief who had been detained on corruption charges.

The party chief had helped CEFC raise money, Caixin reported.

Beijing has sought to rein in conglomerates whose splashy overseas investments have taken billions out of the country. Last week, authorities took control of Anbang Insurance Group and said its chairman faced prosecution for “economic crimes”.

CEFC’s rapid expansion in China’s state-dominated oil universe and emergence as a major player in world oil markets has raised questions about its backing inside China.

The company has played up its role in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative.

CEFC China Energy did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

Last year, US authorities took the company to task over its business dealings in Africa.

US authorities arrested Hong Kong’s former home affairs secretary and the ex-foreign minister of Senegal for leading a multimillion dollar bribery scheme in Africa on behalf of a top Chinese energy company.

CEFC was not identified in the announcement or the complaint filed in New York federal district court, but details in the complaint pointed to CEFC China Energy.

******************************************

China’s president orders arrest of CEFC’s founder Ye Jianming, ending entrepreneur’s stellar rise

From obscurity, Ye Jianming built a business empire with 263 billion yuan in revenue by 2015, before he turned 40, and began on a shopping spree for energy assets around the world, mostly funded by China’s state banks.

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 March, 2018, 2:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 March, 2018, 3:23pm

The Fujian entrepreneur who took less than five years to rise from obscurity to become head of China’s fourth-largest oil conglomerate, has been detained for questioning on the mainland at the direct order of the Chinese president Xi Jinping, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

Ye, ranked two spots ahead of French president Emmanuel Macron in Fortune magazine’s ‘40 Under 40’ list of the world’s most influential young people in 2016, was detained just before the start of the Lunar New Year celebrations on February 16, a source told the South China Morning Post, declining to provide his name for disclosing a matter under investigation. Caixin magazine earlier reported that Ye had been taken away for questioning, but the story appeared to have been removed from its website.

 CEFC’s founder Ye Jianming. Photo: SCMP/Handout

Shares of three companies linked to Ye’s flagship company CEFC China Energy plunged on stock exchanges in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Singapore, wiping out a combined 4 billion yuan (US$630 million) in market value within an hour of trading.

A CEFC spokesman in Shanghai responded by text that the company “has nothing to announce for the time being,” declining to elaborate.

The detention of the low-profile entrepreneur follows the November 21 arrest in New York of Hong Kong’s former Home Secretary Patrick Ho, on charges of routing bribes for African government officials through US financial institutions.

Ho, 68, was leading a life of what he called “civil diplomacy” since his retirement from Hong Kong’s public service, heading a think tank called the China Energy Fund Committee, fully funded by CEFC. The think tank has special consultative status with the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council, with access to influential decision makers in UN bodies.

Ho and Senegal’s former foreign minister Cheikh Gadio operated “an international corruption scheme that spanned the globe” since 2014, according to a November 20, 2017 statement by the US Department of Justice. The two men allegedly offered a US$2 million bribe to Chad’s president Idriss Deby in exchange for “valuable oil rights,” and another US$500,000 to Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa.

 Sam Kutesa (left), President of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, met with Ye Jianming (right), Chairman of CEFC China Energy, after appointing the Chinese entrepreneur as Special Honorary Advisor to UN General Assembly. Photo: CRIENGLISH

Ye’s detention in China marks a remarkably speedy downfall for an entrepreneur who was still making waves three months earlier. CEFC made its third media and communications asset in the Czech Republic in November, leading a consortium that would pay 500 million (US$609 million) to buy the majority of Czech broadcaster CME from Time Warner.

Two months earlier in September 2017, CEFC paid US$9.1 billion for 14.2 per cent of Russia’s state-backed oil company Rosneft, becoming one of the largest shareholders in the world’s largest listed oil firm by production.

Shanghai-based CEFC, established by Ye in 2002 when he was in his mid twenties, had spent at least US$1.7 billion since 2015 buying energy-related businesses in Romania, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and even Chad, not including another US$1.2 billion buying financial services in the US and in the Czech Republic.

 Czech Republic’s President Milos Zeman, center right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping review a guard of honour during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on October 27, 2014. The Czech president would make his second trip to China a year later, becoming the sole European Union head of state to attend China’s military parade to commemorate the end of the Second World War. Photo: AP Photo/Andy Wong

Due partly to Ye’s investments in the country, the Czech Republic’s president Milos Zeman was the sole European Union leader to join a 2015 military parade in Beijing to commemorate the end of the Second World War.

Ye, whose aggressive shopping spree had been attributed to the mistaken association of him with the family of the late Ye Jianying – China’s head of state from 1978 to 1983 – is actually the son of an ordinary worker’s family in Fujian province, according to people who know both families.

After working briefly as an enforcement officer with the forestry department, he earned his first pot of gold helping to extricate a Hong Kong businessman from financial strife and complete a real estate transaction, according to Depth-paper, a Chinese news portal.

From there, he bought at auction the oil businesses that the government had confiscated from Xiamen’s smuggling kingpin Lai Changxing, using loans from state banks, as well as investors in Hong Kong and Fujian to finance his purchase, he told Fortune in an interview.

By 2015, Ye had built up a business empire with 263 billion yuan in revenue, 60 per cent of which was from the trading of oil and gas. CEFC then embarked on an overseas shopping spree, starting with a US$680 million purchase of a majority stake in the overseas unit of Kazakhstan’s state oil company. Subsequent acquisitions extended across eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, mostly in oil and gas. He made waves in Hong Kong when CEFC paid HK$1.4 billion (US$177 million) for three floors of office space at the Wan Chai Convention Plaza, with views of Victoria Harbour.

His biggest acquisition had been his investment in Rosneft, chaired by Igor Sechin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The deal was financed primarily by state banks in Russia and China.

China Development Bank, a state lender established with the charter to provide funding for projects aligned with Chinese state policies, has been CEFC’s biggest financier since the company’s establishment.

The Beijing-based lender extended 32.3 billion yuan of loans, or 87.5 per cent of total bank borrowings, according to the September 2016 bond prospectus of its principal subsidiary CEFC Shanghai International Group.

http://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/2135238/chinas-president-orders-arrest-cefcs-founder-ye-jianming-ending

China Moves to Discredit Tycoon’s Claims of Communist Party Corruption

April 21, 2017

BEIJING — China on Friday sought to discredit billionaire businessman Guo Wengui, painting him as a “criminal suspect” whose allegations of corruption within the highest levels of the Communist Party should not be believed.

Guo, a flamboyant property mogul who has held close ties to disgraced former Chinese intelligence official Ma Jian, has courted international attention with his explosive claims, most recently aired during a live television interview with the U.S government-funded Voice of America (VoA) on Wednesday.

 Exiled businessman Guo Wengui. Photo: Handout

China said on Wednesday that Guo was subject to an Interpol “red notice”, a fact Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday.

“If you are willing to believe what he said then that’s your business,” Lu said. “We don’t believe it.”

The Chinese government had pressed VoA to cancel the interview ahead of time, including by summoning one of the broadcaster’s Beijing-based correspondents to a meeting on Monday, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The ministry’s comments come amid an apparently concerted damage-limitation effort within China highlighting Guo’s reputation as an unreliable narrator.

A 23-minute video, purportedly of Ma Jian confessing in detail to accepting 60 million yuan ($8.72 million) in bribes from Guo, has circulated on Chinese social media since Wednesday night without being removed by government censors who are often quick to delete politically sensitive posts or unsubstantiated rumors.

The video, which was produced and posted online anonymously, has also been reported on widely by mainland media outlets, all of which are regulated by the government. Reuters was unable to independently verify the veracity of the video.

The widely read Beijing News newspaper, and the respected financial magazine Caixin, also published lengthy investigations into Guo’s business dealings and ties with Ma, a disgraced former state security vice-minister who was first detained in early 2015 and expelled from the Communist Party in December last year.

Guo has said he left China in late 2014 after being tipped off about Ma’s imminent arrest, and has not returned since his company premises were raided amid a heated dispute with state-backed Founder Securities.

Since leaving, he has spent most of his time in the United States.

After laying low for two years, Guo resurfaced in February and has since made wide-ranging but unverified allegations of corruption against several top Communist Party officials – past and present – and their families.

He says the information was obtained from Ma, whom he concedes he held a close relationship with but denies bribing.

At Friday’s Foreign Ministry briefing, Lu rejected suggestions the timing of the Interpol red notice was connected to the airing of the VoA interview.

“Interpol has been around for 100 years and has 190 member states,” he said. “For this kind of international organization we think their actions are solemn.”

(Reporting by Philip Wen and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Related:

 

How a powerful tycoon had a Chinese spy master in his pocket

April 20, 2017

‘Shared interests’: Jailed spy master’s tale of how he and businessman friend looked out for each other’s interests

.

By Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 11:16pm
It sounds like the plot to a political thriller or a Hollywood spy film – in which a self-made business tycoon manipulates the country’s secretive state security agency for business gains and has a spy chief at his beck and call.
.