A team of reporters at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists got their hands on leaked documents that reveal a startling truth about modern China: Communist Party leaders and their friends, family members and associates—22,000 of them in all—have hidden as much as $4 trillion in offshore accounts since 2000. The report took two years to investigate, and China has blocked the website of the ICIJ, the Guardian, and other outlets that cooperated on the story.Aside from what it says about China, this story also says something that many of those following the Snowden-NSA hubbub seem to have forgotten: America has a lot less to fear from leaks and hacks than many other countries.
The confidential files include details of a real estate company co-owned by current President Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law and British Virgin Islands companies set up by former Premier Wen Jiabao’s son and also by his son-in-law.Nearly 22,000 offshore clients with addresses in mainland China and Hong Kong appear in the files obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Among them are some of China’s most powerful men and women — including at least 15 of China’s richest, members of the National People’s Congress and executives from state-owned companies entangled in corruption scandals….Chinese officials aren’t required to disclose their assets publicly and until now citizens have remained largely in the dark about the parallel economy that can allow the powerful and well-connected to avoid taxes and keep their dealings secret. By some estimates, between $1 trillion and $4 trillion in untraced assets have left the country since 2000.
Hiding all that money offshore is common practice among China’s elite and not strictly illegal. But if this kind of information were leaked about American politicians, all hell would break loose. The world really is full of ugly and dirty corruption on an entirely different level. All you have to do is look for it.