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China sends 2 officials to jail for leaking economic data

(Shanghai Daily)

08:05, October 25, 2011

China yesterday announced jail sentences for two government officials for leaking secret economic data, stressing the severity of such wrongdoing that can disrupt the world's third-biggest equities market.

Wu Chaoming, a former researcher at the Finance Institute under the People's Bank of China, was sentenced to six years behind bars for intentionally revealing data 224 times to the securities industry before their official release during the first six months of 2010.

The leakage by Wu included 25 pieces of statistical data and involved 15 employees in the securities industry who benefitted from the data, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Sun Zhen, former deputy director at the secretary office of the National Bureau of Statistics, got a sentence of five years for similar wrongdoing since June 2009. Su was accused of disclosing 27 items of classified statistical data to the securities sector.

Li Zhongcheng, a state prosecutor, told reporters in a press conference in Beijing that the two shared classified data about economic growth rates, inflation, retail sales, investment and loan growth.

Such information is market sensitive with the potential to influence equity prices. They have sometimes been found to be circulating among investors days before they were announced by the government. The leaks allow some traders to make profit at the cost of other investors by anticipating how securities prices would react when the information is officially released.

"The leaking of national macroeconomic data harms economic operations, prevents fair market competition, and affects government credibility, thereby causing heavy losses to the interests of the country, society and individuals," Li said.

Li said neither official asked for an appeal. He added that indictments have been filed in the cases of four suspects employed in the securities industry.

Du Yongsheng, a spokesman for the National Administration for Protection of State Secrets, said at the same briefing that the two officials committed the crimes for personal benefit.

He added that Wu and Sun profited by trading stocks based on the information they divulged and also received payoffs in the form of fees for delivering lectures at brokerage events.

Du said the superiors of Wu and Sun might also face investigation but didn't elaborate.

Suspicion that data were being leaked was stirred when Reuters precisely reported China's consumer prices before their official release seven times in the past two years. They cited unidentified sources or unnamed key government officials.

The National Bureau of Statistics beefed up efforts to make key economic figures safer since April of this year.


Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

helen at 2011-10-25203.82.92.*
Bravo. This makes my day!There are more of these scums and they are found in every country. Very severe punishment must be meted out to discourage such vile practices. Confiscation of assets should be included in all cases.Keep this up!
LovingChina at 2011-10-25183.39.42.*
Jailing plus Confiscation of all properties and assets of them all, including those of their senior & junior proxies, agents and security firms whatsoever as well as banning them all from trading whatsoever in China of at least 20 years since their riches are unfairly ill-gotten. Such commercial and national security crimes (* previous rio_tinto’s national security crimes in China were classic examples *) are very damaging to China’s global image whilst ordinary folks could suffer losses unfairly since Chinese people are feverish punters in the stock exchanges and casinos! Hope the new CPC's drive on cultural awareness can at least fix up a portion of this fever, otherwise those “willing losers” may make excuses to stage “street powers” to degrade China.

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