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Rumours China's bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan has defected

Posted by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 11:05 AM
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RUMOURS that the governor of the People's Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan has fled the country for fear of reprisal after a $US430 billion ($481 billion) loss on US Treasury bonds spread overnight in the Chinese-language blogosphere.

The rumours began after a mainland news site fabricated a report that the Chinese Government would punish individuals from the central bank on Saturday, said Hong-Kong based news agency Ming Pao.

State-run media agencies such as Xinhua and PBC published reports on Mr Zhou's recent meetings with Japanese Financial Services Minister Shozaburo Jimi and with an Italian delegation, to serve as the Government's defence against the rumours, reported global intelligence analysis group Stratfor.

Mr Zhou's name has since been blocked from Chinese internet search engines.

His most recent public appearance prior to the defection rumours was at China's Financial System Anti-corruption Construction Exhibition on August 10.

A Chinese Government official told The Washington Post’s Spy Talk blog they had no evidence of Mr Zhou's defection and that he was not in US custody.

"There's no indication at this point that he's defected," the unnamed official said.

Mr Zhou’s dismissal has reportedly been the subject of rumours throughout his second and final five-year term as Governor, as he has been linked to several financial scandals involving former President Jiang Zemin and his so-called Shanghai Gang.

Stratfor CEO George Friedman told SpyTalk he thought the rumours were unlikely to be true, but indicated a power struggle is underway ahead of the Communist Party of China’s change of leadership in 2012.

"I'm less concerned about the number and the specific charges than the politics of a senior banker clearly under attack without the Government stepping in and backing him," Mr Friedman said.

by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 11:05 AM
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