When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

AUSTAR, SOUTH WEEKLY (China), CHINA TIMES (Taiwan)

Worldcrunch

BEIJING - For some time now there has been talk in China about “naked officials.” These Chinese Communist Party officials work in Mainland China while their families live abroad, out of harm’s way.

The idea is that, if need be, the (corrupt) official can escape the country without having to worry about leaving his wife and children behind. Along with their family, they have also their assets abroad. Hence, if there is a corruption investigation, the official is left “naked.”

China now also has an emerging group of “naked businessmen” too. They are rich men who stay in China to make money while sending their families and assets abroad, the China Times reports.

“Nobody knows exactly when it started, but we would always end up talking about emigration,” recalled Ma Hao for the South Weekly. He is talking about the topic of conversation at a private Shanghai club, which is frequented by China’s richest people. Ma Hao has visited his wife and son every two months since they went to settle in New Zealand five years ago.

China’s rapid economic growth has created a substantial class of wealthy people over the past decade, among which many are corrupt officials, but also private sector entrepreneurs. “Nowhere else on Earth can a business generate an annual profit of over 15%,” said Li Lan, a Wenzhou businessman whose parents emigrated to Canada.

[rebelmouse-image 27085991 alt="""" original_size="499x314" expand=1]

Naked in Shanghai. Photo: MikeBehnken

China Times reported that according to a recent study conducted jointly by the Hurun Research Institute and Bank of China, 60% of China’s richest, (i.e. with assets worth of more than 10 million RMB - $1.6 million) are either applying to emigrate or have already done so.

“Only half a million dollars is enough to obtain a Green Card through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. That’s the price of a Beijing apartment. It’s worth it!” confided a man called Zhang.

Giving their children a better educational environment, safeguarding their wealth, and preparing for their retirement are the three major reasons given by these naked businessmen, according to South Weekly.

The wave of emigration among the elite as well as the country’s outflow of capital has alerted public opinion over the past couple of years, but “they are still focused on a crusade against the original sin of the rich class,” the report pointed out.

“The Chinese government is responsible for the public hatred towards the rich. On one hand, the Chinese Communist Party still believes that the rich are the exploiting class while on the other hand it implements a quasi-total capitalist economy. This has caused schizophrenia among the Chinese,” explained Yves, a businessman who works in Beijing while his wife and daughters reside in Paris.

According Austar, one of China’s biggest emigration agencies and also one of China’s most prosperous businesses in recent years, the six most popular destinations for China’s naked businessmen were Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the U.K.

In 2009, of all the investment visas in the U.S., 53% came from China. While in 2008, Canada approved more than 10,000 investment visas, of which 70% came from China.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

Women attend a pro-government protest in Tehran as tension grows across the country

Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Sophia Constantino and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Tere!*

Welcome to Monday, where a school shooting in Russia kills at least 13, far-right leader Giorgia Meloni is poised to become Italy’s first female prime minister, and get ready for a superstar comeback at the next Super Bowl half-time show. Meanwhile, Chinese-language digital media The Initium visits the city of Guiyang, where a tragic crash of a bus carrying quarantined residents exposes the darkness of China’s zero-COVID policy.

[*Estonian]

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ