Contrary to Xi Jinping? Shenzhen’s top brass change, the mayor and other 18 people lost their posts

Shenzhen’s top brass has suddenly changed blood, the mayor and other 18 people “resigned” or removed from office. It is believed that this is related to the Shenzhen speculation incident.

Shenzhen’s top brass suddenly changed a few days ago, the mayor and other 18 people “were resigned” or removed from office. It is believed that this is related to the Shenzhen leadership team and Xi Jinping sings a contradictory tune. Under the ban on property speculation by the Beijing authorities, but the property market prices in Shenzhen are still rising, and the incident of property speculation in partnership has also been exposed by the media.

The Standing Committee of the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Congress announced on April 24 that the former mayor of Shenzhen, Chen Rugui, and 18 senior officials above the department level, including the director of the Municipal Supervisory Commission, the president of the Municipal Intermediate Court, the president of the Municipal Procuratorate, the director of the Municipal Bureau of Industry and Information Technology, and the director of the Municipal Bureau of Commerce, had “resigned” or been removed from their posts.

Qin Weizhong, vice governor of Guangdong Province, took over as vice mayor and acting mayor of Shenzhen, while Zhang Hua became vice mayor of Shenzhen. The 50-year-old Qin Weizhong became the first “post-70s” mayor of Shenzhen, and is also the youngest government “hand” in the country’s sub-provincial cities.

This sudden change in officialdom has sparked a lot of public debate. Zou Tao, a financial commentator in Shenzhen, told Free Asia that this may be related to Shenzhen’s “submissiveness” to the Communist Party’s top policies.

Zou Tao said that the top echelon of the Communist Party of China “three orders to ‘housing not to speculate’, but also to prevent the flow of business loans and other bank credit funds into the real estate market, but perhaps here in Shenzhen is downplayed, and not much investigation into the matter.”

According to data from Anjuke, a Chinese property information service platform, the average price of new homes in Shenzhen in April was about 44,000 yuan per square meter, with the average price of new homes in Nanshan District actually exceeding 140,000 yuan per square meter. And data from the National Bureau of Statistics of the Communist Party of China shows that the per capita disposable income of Shenzhen residents last year was less than 65,000 yuan.

Ren Ming, a freelancer who has lived in Shenzhen for nearly three decades, said that Shenzhen’s housing prices have far exceeded the level that normal people can afford. “Shenzhen’s property market has become so hot that it doesn’t eat the fires of the world, because local housing prices have become a financial instrument. Not to mention the working class, it has become irrelevant to the average white-collar worker and the average small business owner.”

In early April, a netizen reported on Weibo that Shenzhen real estate blogger “Shen Fangli” (real name Li Xuefeng) had illegal and irregular speculation, and disclosed 102 materials related to speculation by members of “Shen Fangli”.

Most of these materials are screenshots of the advertisements of “recruiting shareholders on behalf of holders” in the WeChat group chat of “Shen Fangli”, that is, people who have capital but are not qualified to buy houses, register their properties in the names of others when buying houses, and multiple participants jointly contribute to the fund to buy properties in the form of “shares”. The “shares” are used to purchase high-priced properties in the tens of millions of dollars.

Xinhua News Agency, the official media of the Communist Party of China, recently reported that seven departments in Shenzhen, including housing construction, public security and banking and insurance supervision, are conducting a joint investigation in response to reports that “Shenzhen Housing Management” has abetted speculators to fraudulently qualify for home purchase, fraudulently obtain credit funds to purchase houses, and suspected illegal fund raising.

The blogger Li Xuefeng said that “false content and related reports” have been circulating online recently, and his lawyer has applied for a case.

Beijing authorities proposed a policy of “no speculation in housing” at the end of 2016, but China’s property market continues to heat up. The National Bureau of Statistics of the Communist Party of China (NBSC) recently released housing price data for 70 cities in March, showing that the price of new homes in nearly 90 percent of cities and the price of second-hand homes in more than 80 percent of cities still rose from the previous month.

Shenzhen citizens Zou Tao and Ren Ming both said that the continued rise in domestic housing prices is related to the Communist Party’s local government’s over-reliance on land finance, and that local governments are actually the biggest “landlords” and “speculators”, with the property market firmly tied to the system’s vested interests. Therefore, the government’s inaction is to a large extent not because it “cannot act” but because it “does not want to act”.