Beijing has reportedly called on the Communist Party’s elites to give up foreign holdings and avoid the risk of sanctions like Russia’s.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has allegedly issued a directive discouraging senior officials from buying assets abroad, seeking to keep the country’s top figures away from Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
The new policy will block promotions for CCP elites who have significant foreign holdings, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing unnamed individuals familiar with the matter. This restriction applies not only to assets directly and indirectly owned by high-ranking officials, but also to assets owned by their spouses and children.
In March, just weeks after Russia launched its military campaign against Ukraine, the CCP’s central agency issued an internal notice imposing new investment bans. According to the report, ministerial-level party leaders will no longer be allowed to own foreign assets, such as real estate and stocks.
Party officials will also be barred from opening non-essential accounts in foreign financial institutions. For example, a leader’s college-age child will be able to keep an account in a local bank while studying at a foreign university, but he will not be allowed to keep cash in Singapore or Switzerland as a safe haven.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has previously protested against the corruption and display of assets by CCP officials. Citing leaked records, a 2014 report alleged that close relatives of the party’s elite, including former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s son and brother-in-law, had set up foreign corporations to hide assets.
The United States and its allies have imposed tough sanctions on Russia for punishing and isolating it from invading Ukraine. Some measures have targeted individuals, including Kremlin officials and wealthy businessmen.
Read more: US seizes Russia’s assets in illegal Ukraine reconstruction – US
President Joe Biden is looking for ways to sell the confiscated assets of the Russians, such as yachts and real estate, in order to help finance Ukraine’s reconstruction. A bill passed last month in the US House of Representatives to raise cash to help and rebuild Ukraine has called for an end to such resources. Meanwhile, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday said it would not be legal for the United States to seize Russian central bank deposits to help rebuild Ukraine.