In 1999, Rupert Hoogeworf—who also goes by his Chinese name “Hu Run”—established the Hurun Report, a monthly magazine best known for its “China Rich List”, in which it ranks China’s wealthiest individuals. On April 19th, the Hurun report published a study declaring that out of the 2,188 individuals featured on this Rich List between 1999 and 2013, 27 have been sent to prison.
Want China Times reports: “Over half of the 27 were aged between 40 and 49, and were mostly guilty of bribery, misappropriation and violation of the management rules of their firms, according to the report released on Wednesday. Their average age at time of sentencing was 46, and over half of them were sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.”
The report shows that 65 charges were filed against these 27, ending up with an average of 2.5 charges per person. Most sentences were related to bribery (quite often with government officials), but there were also multiple instances of duty aggressiveness and crimes of capital embezzlement. Researchers and legal experts have said that the majority of men were entrepreneurs who built their wealth empires out of nothing, and these crimes were committed at the pinnacle of their careers.
A commentator with NTD released the following statement: “The corrupt officials fill Chinese society nowadays. Any decent sized business would require dealing with the government. To work with these corrupt officials, how can you balance the book? Should they be the gray income or gray expense?”
While a number of Western sources have decided to perceive this as a negative China news piece, others (see WCT) have pointed out that 27 out of 2,188 cases—or 1.2%—is actually quite a small fraction, and may even be a cause for optimism.