Beijing has been waging a high-profile anti-graft drive and secured broad support for an international anti-corruption declaration at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting it hosted this week. But Berlin-based group Transparency International said China has rejected principles on beneficial ownership that would make it easier to establish who runs a company which Australia had hoped to unveil at this weekend’s summit.
Anti-graft advocates have repeatedly called for tougher corporate disclosure requirements, arguing that such measures would help prevent the use of shell companies for illegal purposes. China’s ruling Communist Party is wary of disclosure requirements that might reveal the hidden wealth of the country’s political elite, a topic considered off-limits by party leaders.
Transparency International senior programme coordinator Maggie Murphy said the advocacy group believes Beijing is blocking adoption of the principles. “China has a lot to gain by adopting these G20 Beneficial Ownership Principles,” Murphy told AFP. “They would help contribute to their strong anti-corruption crackdown and help track down the people syphoning funds out of the country. We hope that China has had the opportunity in the last few days to discuss any remaining reservations with Australia and other leaders and is willing to fully support them.”
A Chinese official denied that Beijing has sought to impede the talks – and maintained that China did not have the power to do so even if it wanted to. “China is not obstructing relevant discussions,” said Zhang Jun, director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Economic Affairs. “G20 is G20,” he said. “G20 is not the (United Nations) Security Council. China does not have veto power. No countries have any veto power and all discussions are based on consensus.” [Source]