The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top political advisory body, oversaw its political consultative conference this week — known as its “two sessions” — in Beijing. President Xi Jinping is now beginning his third term having held the National People’s Congress’s (NPC) annual meeting surrounded by thousands of delegates — many of whom are among China’s wealthiest individuals.
The Chinese President, while giving his closing remarks at the first session of the 14th NPC on March 14, said the central task of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the nation is to build the country into a great modern socialist country.
Thousands of delegates looked on as he said they would “relay the baton” of building a socialist country while “advancing national rejuvenation which has been historically passed on to our generation”.
This year, there has been “rejuvenation” among the delegates, with the Communist Party-controlled nomination process taking place over the last few weeks.
Among the delegates, who represent more than 96 million members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), many are China’s “elites”, seeking to get ahead in life.
Chen Xi, associate professor, of government and public administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the Financial Times: “With the CCP’s increasingly tightened control of social and economic resources and opportunities, it has become even more important than before for elites in China to become ‘insiders’ of the ‘system’.”
According to the Chinese rich list, put together by the Hurun Report’s research, which is run by the former Forbes rich list researcher Rubert Hoogewerf, there are more than 80 billionaires among the delegates this year.
In the UK, some were outraged to discover that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, are worth an estimated £730million, a figure which dwarfed the net worth of King Charles III.
The Sunak’s wealth, however, pales in comparison to the wealth of a proportion of China’s parliament which is made of both the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, there being some 5,000 delegates in total.
Lei Jun, the founder of smartphone maker Xiaomi which competes with the likes of Apple and Samsung, will be serving under a new five-year term on the CPPCC.
He is worth £10.9billion according to Bloomberg with the company, based in Beijing, having revenue of just over £41billion in 2021.
Liu Qingfeng, the founder of US sanctioned AI firm iFlyTek and a billionaire, according to Forbes, has also been selected for another NPC term.
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Ma Huateng or Pony Ma — who has a net worth of some £35billion — was not on the list this year having already served two five-year terms.
He is the chief executive of Tencent, China’s most valuable company. Its messaging app WeChat has more than one billion users.
Names of representatives from the tech hardware sector were also on the delegate lists for the first time this year.
Those from phone chip firms such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) are worth some £20billion, and Hua Hong Semiconductor Ltd, which is backed by the state and worth some £4billion, were represented in the CPPCC according to Reuters.
The Hurun Report also revealed that the 41 billionaire NPC deputies have a total fortune of £156.91billion, a decrease of 10 percent from the following year.
Additionally, the 40 billionaires on the advisory committee are worth £257billion, a decrease of 12 percent.
In comparison, there are no billionaires in the current US congress with the five richest members each worth at least £160million.
China, including Hong Kong and Macau, has the second-highest number of billionaires in the world, a figure that today stands at around 607. Only the US comes ahead of it at 735, according to Forbes.
More than 1,000 of China’s citizens were billionaires in 2021 due to economic growth. This had risen to 1,087 by 2022 according to the Hurun Report.
The Chinese president has sought to crack down on the wealth of industries he believes have become too rich since he came into power in 2012. There are growing regulatory clampdowns in order to pursue his “common prosperity” agenda. But for now, the cash appears to be flowing well and plentiful in China.