Government graft-buster likely next CIRC chief

Move could signal intensified government crackdown on irregularities in the financial sector

Government graft-buster likely next CIRC chief

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Chinese government is likely to appoint Yang Xiaochao, secretary-general of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), as the next chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), according to sources.

Yang is one of the names floated to take control of the insurance regulator, which has been headless since April, when former chairman Xiang Junbo was investigated and dismissed due to “serious disciplinary violations,” a phrase often used by the Chinese government and media to refer to graft and corruption.

Two sources have told Reuters that Yang is the “front runner” to be the next head of the CIRC.

Yang is an associate of Wang Qishan, current chief of the CCDI and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top political leadership body.

From 2008 to 2013, Yang was head of the Beijing financial affairs bureau, and was top auditor for the city when Wang served as mayor of Beijing. Yang was also appointed as the city vice mayor in 2013.

It has been speculated that this could be a signal that the government will intensify its crackdown on irregular business practices in its financial sector, especially in insurance. President Xi Jinping mounted a massive anti-corruption campaign since he assumed office in 2012, with several senior officials being snagged.

Aside from Xiang, several other financial sector officials were investigated and removed, including: Yang Jiacai, former assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission; Wang Yincheng, former president of state-owned People's Insurance Co (Group) of China; and Wu Xiaohui, chairman of controversial insurer Anbang Insurance Group.

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