In a stunning turn of events, government mouthpiece CCTV has accused one of China’s four biggest banks (state-owned as well) of money laundering. The bank has denied these accusations.
“It is something which reflects on decisions at a very senior level,” said Steve Tsang, head of U of Nottingham’s China department. “I would be surprised if whoever is in charge at CCTV would have done a report like this without clearing it with the propaganda department, who would therefore have cleared it with someone even more senior.”
On the surface, this looks to be a part of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. Yet, says Tsang, “if it’s politically unacceptable to the leadership, you don’t run it.”
Looking deeper, we find that CCTV itself is mired in massive corruption. Pointing the spotlight on Bank of China may just be enough to give it some breathing room.
“By Thursday afternoon, both the original CCTV report and related coverage by state-run media were disappearing from the Internet,” says New York Times. So, whether part of Xi’s “anti-corruption” or CCTV’s anti-penance, the report is still running foul of China’s leadership.