It isn’t surprising that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s massive, multi-year party purge is having major effects on Chinese society, but not all of its effects are what you might expect. Consider, for example, a recent article in Bloomberg News, which details the tribulations of a wealthy Chinese woman who finds that nobody will accept the considerable chunk of change she set aside to get her kid into the best school district:
Four months after the new school year started, Chen Jin is still trying to enroll her daughter in a top middle school in her city of more than 10 million people in northern China. The problem: No one to bribe.In previous years, people with money or connections could bypass residency restrictions and send their kids to the most prestigious public schools. This school year officials aren’t rising to the bait, as education authorities take President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign to heart.“I will not give up,” said Chen, whose 12-year-old daughter attends another public school near home in Shijiazhuang in Hebei province. She said she’s prepared to offer as much as 100,000 yuan ($16,000). “There must be a way.”
So far there isn’t.Fear of being purged is also cutting into the bottom line of China’s gambling mecca, Macau, and as last month’s excellent article in McClatchy DC reports:
But looks can be deceiving. The Venetian and other mega-casinos in Macau, a special administrative region of China, are being hammered. For more than a decade, they’ve depended on middleman “junket operators” to lure high rollers from mainland China to this former Portuguese colony.Yet as is now clear, many of those elite gamblers were not independently wealthy. They were corrupt government officials, trying to beat the odds with pilfered public money. And since President Xi Jinping stepped up his campaign against official corruption this year – former security chief Zhou Yongkang was expelled from the Communist Party on Friday [December 5] in the latest action – gambling revenues have dropped markedly in Macau for six months in a row. […]“This is not just a ‘correction’ in the market. It is much more than that,” said Ben Lee, the managing partner at IGamiX, a Hong Kong gaming management and consulting company. “It is a real downward trend, and it is being driven by the anti-corruption campaign in China.”
Xi isn’t just sweeping out the halls of power; he’s shaking the rug under China’s whole economy. Some surprising things may fall out of it (as well as some valuable ones), but Xi’s betting that the benefits of making himself over in Mao’s image will be worth it.