Former chairman of state-owned bank China Everbright Group arrested

Chinese prosecutors say the former chairman of state-owned Chinese bank China Everbright Group has been arrested on suspicion of corruption and bri…

Tang Shuangning, then chairman of China Everbright Group and Everbright Securities Co.

HONG KONG -- The former head of China Everbright Group, a state-owned Chinese bank, was detained on suspicion of embezzlement and bribery, according to a statement released by the prosecution on Monday.

Tang Shuangning's investigation has ended, and the case will be transferred to the procuratorate for review and prosecution, said the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Chinese Communist Party expelled Tang, 69, earlier this month over discipline and law violations amid a crackdown on financial corruption. He retired in 2017.

According to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and the National Supervisory Commission, he also weakens the party's leadership over the bank, fails to prevent and defuse financial risks, reads publications with serious political problems privately and resists organizational scrutiny.

Another alleged transgression: promoting his calligraphy. Tang has published several volumes of calligraphy and poems.

President Xi Jinping earlier this month pledged to intensify the crackdown on graft in the finance, energy and infrastructure sectors as part of a longstanding campaign against corruption since he came to power.

Reportedly, 4.7 million people had been punishment for corruption as of April 2022, in state-run media.

Prior to becoming chairman of China Everbright Group, Tang was vice president of the China Banking Regulatory Commission from 2003 to 2007. In July, he was the subject of an inquiry.

Approximately twelve commercial banks were established in China in the early 1990s, including China Everbright. The Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets list its shares. Central Huijin, a state-owned investment firm, is in charge of it.

Li Xiaopeng, Tang's successor, was likewise accused of graft, banished from the party, and dismissed from public service.

Another person convicted for alleged corruption is Sun Guofeng, a former top officer of the Chinese central bank who received a sentence of more than 16 years in prison for receiving bribes. For taking more than $130 million in bribes during his career, Sun Deshun, the former president of the state-owned China CITIC Bank, was given a life sentence.

Zhang Hongli, a former senior executive of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the largest bank in China, is another financial officer under investigation for possible bribery..

Death toll rises to 13 in a coal mine accident in central China

BEIJING -- In a coal mine disaster in central China, the death toll has increased to 13, official media reported on Sunday.

Three workers are still unaccounted for after Friday's tragedy in Pingdingshan, Henan Province, according to the mine owner.

According to Xinhua, preliminary investigation suggests that a coal and gas explosion was the cause.

Despite attempts to improve mine safety, China saw a number of deadly coal mine accidents in the previous year. Even while China is developing solar and wind facilities far faster than the rest of the globe to tackle climate change, coal is still a major source of electricity in the nation.

War of words after Taiwan election highlights the intractable divide over the island's fate

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The day following Taiwan's presidential and parliamentary elections, a verbal spat broke out, with China denouncing the United States for congratulating the winner and Taiwan accusing China of making "fallacious comments" on Sunday.

The heated exchanges brought attention to the seemingly unbridgeable difference over Taiwan's future, a significant area of contention in U.S.-China ties that could eventually spark a real war.

The win of Lai Ching-te in Saturday’s election marked a setback for China's ambitions to bring Taiwan under its control. His Democratic Progressive Party favours preserving the current situation, in which Taiwan exercises self-government but abstains from formally announcing its independence, which could incite a military reaction from China. China, on the other hand, advocates for "peaceful reunification," but given that the majority of Taiwanese now oppose joining China, it looks increasingly implausible.

Taiwan said as much, taking issue with China over its often-repeated line that Taiwan is a domestic Chinese issue. China regards the island of 23 million people as a renegade province and says it shouldn't have its own president or official relations with foreign governments.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the election that “the Taiwan question is China’s internal affair" and "the basic fact that .... Taiwan is part of China will not change.”

Taiwan said that statement “is completely inconsistent with international understanding and the current cross-strait situation. It goes against the expectation of global democratic communities and goes against the will of the people of Taiwan to uphold democratic values. Such cliches are not worth refuting.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Lai on his victory, and saying Washington looks forward to working with all of Taiwan's leaders “to advance our shared interests and values.” It congratulated the people of Taiwan for demonstrating the strength of their democracy, a nod to the Biden administration's efforts to find common ground with other democracies in the face of China's rise.

China's Foreign Ministry said the U.S. statement “sends a gravely wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces” and goes against a U.S. commitment to maintaining only unofficial ties with Taiwan.

Lai's victory means the Democratic Progressive Party will continue to hold the presidency for a third four-year term, following eight years under President Tsai Ing-wen. But he won a three-way race for president with 40% of the vote, less than the clear majority Tsai won in 2020. He will take office in May.

The Democratic Progressive Party lost its majority in the legislature, finishing with one seat fewer than the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party. Neither holds a majority, giving the Taiwan People's Party — a relatively new force that won eight of the 113 seats — a possible swing vote on legislation.

A statement from the Taiwan Affairs Office in China said that the results showed that the Democratic Progressive Party does not represent mainstream public opinion on the island.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry, in its response, called on China “ to respect the election results, face reality and give up its oppression against Taiwan.”

The Chinese military regularly sends fighter jets and warships into the skies and waters near Taiwan. Any conflict could draw in the United States, which officially doesn't support Taiwan's independence but opposes any attempt to change the status quo by force.

Meanwhile, former U.S. national security adviser Stephen Hadley and former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg arrived in Taipei on Sunday for post-election meetings with political leaders. It was unclear how China would react, as it seeks to nurture a recent improvement in its troubled ties with the U.S. while also maintaining a firm and unwavering position on Taiwan.

They two will have meetings on Monday, the American Institute in Taiwan, the de-facto U.S. embassy, said in a news release. The institute said the U.S. government had asked Hadley and Steinberg “to travel in their private capacity to Taiwan.”

China has said that it opposes any official interaction with Taiwan but has not indicated whether it considers the upcoming visit an official one.

The U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, though it maintains an office in Taipei, the capital city, and is the main supplier of weapons for the island’s military..

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