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Scandal property linked to officials

THE developer of a possible illegal housing project in central China that sparked the infamous remark "Who are you going to speak for?" by an official defending the project is a company owned by two local officials' wives.

Lu Jun, deputy director of the urban planning bureau in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, made the remark in front of dozens of reporters while being asked why a luxury villa project had been built on land earmarked for budget apartments in Zhengzhou's Xigang Village.

He then asked the China National Radio reporter: "Are you going to speak for the Party or for the people?"

China National Radio reporter Ren Leiping had been investigating the development, which was approved for affordable housing for low-income people but turned into 12 villas and two mid-rise buildings.

Ren said he found Lu's response hard to understand.

The project Lu defended was found to be run by Tianrong Land Co, a company owned by two local officials' wives, Ma Xiaoxia and Shi Sufang.

Ma owns 60 percent of the company and Shi the rest. Ma's husband, Li Yiping, was an official at Zhengzhou's land and resources bureau several years ago, while Shi's husband, Liang Jianmin, is a police officer in the project's district, according to the registered business information published by the business watchdog on June 23.

Ma and Liang bought Tianrong Land in 2005 for 10 million yuan (US$1.46 million).

The project was approved in August 2004 when Ma's husband was still with the land and resources bureau. Tianrong obtained the land for free from the Zhengzhou government as it was supposed to build the budget apartments. However, the company built villas on the land instead.

Liang transferred his 40 percent stake to Shi in 2007.

The registered office for Tianrong was found to be the condo of the assistant mayor of Zhengzhou, Liu Benxin.

No evidence has been found that Lu was involved in the deal but he was suspended from his duty pending further investigation for his remarks, which were broadcast by China National Radio on June 17.

Lu's comment implies the Party and the people are mutually exclusive, local authorities said on June 22.

The CPC Constitution states the Party represents "the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people."

Wu Zhongmin, professor of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, told Xinhua: "The interests of the people and the Party are identical, but Lu put them in opposition. Lu represents some Party officials who try to obtain personal gain in the name of the Party."




 

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