Is Beijing Nervous as Switzerland Adopts EU Sanctions Against Russia?

Commentary If the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is still contemplating on how the world will react if it launches an attack on Taiwan, perhaps the current Swiss sanction on Russia could serve as a warning. So far, the European Union, the United States, and Japan have announced to ban Russian banks from the SWIFT financial network, and have frozen an estimated $640 billion of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves. At the same time, the United States has vowed to track down the assets of Russia’s oligarchs globally. Even Switzerland abandoned its traditional neutrality and adopted all financial sanctions imposed by the EU, including freezing the assets of key players in the Russian government and oligarchs in Switzerland. This move may not have much impact on the situation of the Russian-Ukraine war, but it scares the CCP. Swiss National Bank data show that “Russians held nearly 10.4 billion Swiss francs ($11.24 billion) in Switzerland in 2020.” In contrast, the assets of senior CCP officials in Switzerland far exceed this amount. The difference is not several times, but hundreds of times! The 2018 UBS/PwC Billionaires report indicated that “Chinese billionaires increased in number to 373 in 2017 from 318 in 2016 and their wealth rose by 39 percent to USD 1.12 trillion.” This means that the combined assets of just four Chinese billionaires will greatly exceed Russians’ total assets in Switzerland in 2020. A report by UBS and PwC in 2020 recorded a combined wealth of $1.7 trillion owned by 415 Chinese billionaires. In fact, the data are just part of the overseas assets of the CCP dignitaries. As exposed by WikiLeaks, Chinese corrupt officials “have more than 5,000 personal accounts in Swiss banks, two-thirds of whom are central-level officials from the level of vice premier, bank governors and ministers to central committee members.” Chinese Communist Party’s head Xi Jinping (center) and lawmakers stand for the anthem during the closing session of the rubber-stamp legislature’s conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on March 11, 2021. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images) Many Chinese reports have also revealed the huge sum of money kept by the CCP overseas. For example, Jiang Jiemin, former chairman of PetroChina, provided former security czar Zhou Yongkang and his family access to vast embezzled sums of around $10 billion, funneled through Swiss banks, the Hong Kong media Apple Daily reported in 2013. Miles Guo Wengui, a wealthy Chinese businessman in exile, revealed in April 2019 that former CCP leader Jiang Zemin’s family may possess as much as $1 trillion in shadow assets and laundered at least $500 billion overseas. Guo, who also goes by the name Miles Kwok, fled China in 2015 and now lives in the United States. He is known for his connections to retired CCP officials, particularly those associated with Jiang. Hong Kong media Open Magazine reported that Liu Jinbao, the former vice chairman of Bank of China, confessed in prison that Jiang transferred more than $3 billion to Bank of China Grand Cayman Branch between May and September 2002, ahead of the national meeting of the CCP’s rubber-stamp legislature on Nov. 8, 2002. Swiss banks have been the first choice for corrupt CCP officials, as well as terrorists and criminal groups, to hide their dirty money. Switzerland manages as much as one-third of the world’s wealth. Although Swiss banks abide by a code of silence and have gained the reputation of discretion, they gradually adopted common reporting standards as part of efforts to crack down on tax evasion and fraud. With the Swiss government joining the EU in imposing sanctions on Russia, the move sends a message to corrupt CCP officials: your money is no longer safe in Switzerland. It would also make the CCP think twice about invading Taiwan, as China would suffer devastating consequences from international sanctions. Just that thought would bring nightmares to corrupt Party officials. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Follow Li Zhengkuan is a freelance writer who covers China’s affairs. He started contributing to The Epoch Times in 2020.

Is Beijing Nervous as Switzerland Adopts EU Sanctions Against Russia?

Commentary

If the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is still contemplating on how the world will react if it launches an attack on Taiwan, perhaps the current Swiss sanction on Russia could serve as a warning.

So far, the European Union, the United States, and Japan have announced to ban Russian banks from the SWIFT financial network, and have frozen an estimated $640 billion of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves. At the same time, the United States has vowed to track down the assets of Russia’s oligarchs globally.

Even Switzerland abandoned its traditional neutrality and adopted all financial sanctions imposed by the EU, including freezing the assets of key players in the Russian government and oligarchs in Switzerland. This move may not have much impact on the situation of the Russian-Ukraine war, but it scares the CCP.

Swiss National Bank data show that “Russians held nearly 10.4 billion Swiss francs ($11.24 billion) in Switzerland in 2020.” In contrast, the assets of senior CCP officials in Switzerland far exceed this amount. The difference is not several times, but hundreds of times!

The 2018 UBS/PwC Billionaires report indicated that “Chinese billionaires increased in number to 373 in 2017 from 318 in 2016 and their wealth rose by 39 percent to USD 1.12 trillion.” This means that the combined assets of just four Chinese billionaires will greatly exceed Russians’ total assets in Switzerland in 2020.

A report by UBS and PwC in 2020 recorded a combined wealth of $1.7 trillion owned by 415 Chinese billionaires.

In fact, the data are just part of the overseas assets of the CCP dignitaries.

As exposed by WikiLeaks, Chinese corrupt officials “have more than 5,000 personal accounts in Swiss banks, two-thirds of whom are central-level officials from the level of vice premier, bank governors and ministers to central committee members.”

China
Chinese Communist Party’s head Xi Jinping (center) and lawmakers stand for the anthem during the closing session of the rubber-stamp legislature’s conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on March 11, 2021. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Many Chinese reports have also revealed the huge sum of money kept by the CCP overseas.

For example, Jiang Jiemin, former chairman of PetroChina, provided former security czar Zhou Yongkang and his family access to vast embezzled sums of around $10 billion, funneled through Swiss banks, the Hong Kong media Apple Daily reported in 2013.

Miles Guo Wengui, a wealthy Chinese businessman in exile, revealed in April 2019 that former CCP leader Jiang Zemin’s family may possess as much as $1 trillion in shadow assets and laundered at least $500 billion overseas. Guo, who also goes by the name Miles Kwok, fled China in 2015 and now lives in the United States. He is known for his connections to retired CCP officials, particularly those associated with Jiang.

Hong Kong media Open Magazine reported that Liu Jinbao, the former vice chairman of Bank of China, confessed in prison that Jiang transferred more than $3 billion to Bank of China Grand Cayman Branch between May and September 2002, ahead of the national meeting of the CCP’s rubber-stamp legislature on Nov. 8, 2002.

Swiss banks have been the first choice for corrupt CCP officials, as well as terrorists and criminal groups, to hide their dirty money. Switzerland manages as much as one-third of the world’s wealth.

Although Swiss banks abide by a code of silence and have gained the reputation of discretion, they gradually adopted common reporting standards as part of efforts to crack down on tax evasion and fraud.

With the Swiss government joining the EU in imposing sanctions on Russia, the move sends a message to corrupt CCP officials: your money is no longer safe in Switzerland. It would also make the CCP think twice about invading Taiwan, as China would suffer devastating consequences from international sanctions. Just that thought would bring nightmares to corrupt Party officials.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Li Zhengkuan is a freelance writer who covers China’s affairs. He started contributing to The Epoch Times in 2020.