Hunan province businessman Zeng Chengjie — who emerged from poverty to become a major real estate developer — was executed by the Chinese government for fraud and illegal fundraising last week.
According to Zeng’s daughter, local Party members removed their investments from her father’s projects in 2009, causing panic among ordinary investors. Zeng was left “holding the bag” in the alleged Ponzi scheme. He was imprisoned and his assets sold by a state-owned company.
He allegedly defrauded more than 57,000 investors out of approximately RMB2.8 billion (US $460 million), of which RMB1.7 billion had been returned. He used the money to fund his company that bid for urban development projects, including key local landmarks and public facilities, in Jishou, a small city in Hunan.
In China, the execution of white collar criminals has become increasingly controversial, as the government itself often has a large part in economic matters. In this case, the government profited from the liquidation of Zeng’s company, his daughter argues.
And Zeng’s family was notified two days after his lethal injection took place, contracy to Chinese law, which says families must be allowed to see their loved ones before an execution.
A Chinese court has held that Zeng made no request to see his family before his death. The Internet, of course, scoffed at all that.
Former Google China executive Kai-Fu Lee wrote: “If one day, I’m sentenced to death and told that I have the right to meet my family, I guarantee that I will absolutely ask to see my family. If the court claims that I didn’t make such request after the execution, it must be a lie.”
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