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Rich List or Wanted List?

23 October 2006

Hu Run’s Rich List (富豪榜) has been dubbed Wanted List (杀猪榜) in China. Each year shortly after the list was published, some of people on the list would quickly fall from grace. There is no exception this time around.

It is revealed by Guangzhou Property Tax Bureau that, of 41 large corporations that have failed to pay taxes 20 million yuans or more, 31 are property-related companies. And the number ten on the Hu Run’s Rich List is one of them. With his financial assets adds up to a dazzling 10 billion yuans, he still chooses not to pay his tax. So far he has accumulated an unpaid tax debt of 28 million yuans, not counting the interest he owns.

In a country where many people cannot afford to go to hospital and a lot of families are struggling to make ends meet in order to allow their children to finish school, it is understandable that this extremely wealthy man’s extraordinary mean act has caused a wide resentment. To make things worse, he is a property developer.

For years, China’s property market is generally viewed as THE most corrupted industry in China, and the property developers became the most disgusted group.

China's property industry is a hotbed of corruption, where private business people and local government officials often team up and exercise forced land acquisition and dodged tender practice. Case in point is Shanghai when it was under the rule of Chen Liangyu. Some time ago, over 200 Shanghai residents sent an open letter to Beijing, detailing how their houses in district were demolished by a private developer associated to Chen, from whom the rightful owners of the properties received no compensation but fists and punches. Many of them are still left without a place to call home so far. And that are not all. Price manipulation and tax invasion are also said to be the trademarks of this industry. A local study shows that 90 percent of property-related companies fail to pay their tax.

Another rich man on the Rich List publicly declaimed that he dared not to enter the property market. "The Field is too filthy," he reportedly said.

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