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Phantom sell-off

By Wang Xinyuan (Global Times)

08:57, January 30, 2013

Liu Xiaowei did not anticipate such a strong response to his most recent idea for attracting consumers' attention.

Liu, a real estate broker for Maitian Property, wrote a promotional message in December offering eight government-owned luxury houses for sale in Beijing.

The message soon sparked reports about officials hurrying to sell their properties in order to avoid corruption investigations.

"My work and life has been seriously affected," said Liu, adding that his telephone has been ringing constantly with calls from the media to confirm the story.

Liu told the Global Times Thursday that the message was false and designed purely to draw attention from potential customers, but the story has gathered pace anyway.

The Beijing-based Economic Observer newspaper reported a surge in sales of luxury apartments or villas owned by officials in 45 major cities since mid-November 2012, citing an unnamed source at the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Many of the sellers are government workers and executives at State-owned enterprises, the paper said.

A report by the Party discipline watchdog on the sales was recently submitted to top Party leaders, the paper also said.

However, the watchdog denied that it had reported any such sell-off of properties by officials to the Party leaders, China National Radio reported Saturday, citing an unnamed official from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

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