Authorities detained a Chinese financial conglomerate leader on Sept. 24.
HNA Group confirmed on Weibo its Board of Directors Chairman Chen Feng is in Henan police custody.
Chen is from Shanxi province and a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The 68 year-old also served as standing member of the Henan Provincial People’s Congress, and delegate to the CCP’s 16th, 17th, and 18th National Congresses. He is arguably not just a businessman rather a deeply political individual.
Chen reportedly has a very close relationship with Xiao Jianhua, who is linked to former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin and confidant Zeng Qinghong. HNA arguably has considerable political support.
After Chen completely lost equity, Hainan police declared he was suspected of unlawful activities. Chen was arrested after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s faction escalated the so-called “killing tigers and swatting flies” campaign ahead of the CCP’s 20th National Congress. The 2022 event will determine whether Xi stays in office or not.
In the past nine years, Xi purged thousands of Chinese officials for corruption-related crimes. Most of them are associated or linked to Jiang’s clique. Among the officials purged are Politburo members–the CCP’s most elite–including Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, and Xu Caihou. However, Xi has yet to reach the remaining “grand” figures in Jiang’s faction like Zeng.
Xi quickly purged Jiang faction members after figures with ties to the former dictator’s group had “fallen off their horses.” Most of those affected are entrepreneurs who emerged when Jiang was at the peak of his power. This includes billionaires Jack Ma and Xu Jiayin. In addition, numerous movie stars are said to have helped Jiang’s faction launder money. BL understands silver screen star Zhao Wei is one such example.
Ma, Xu, and Zhao are also rumored to have a close relationship with the Zeng family.
The relationship between Chen and Zeng is shown in the latter’s 2006 visit to Henan province. At the time Zeng was vice president of the country.
On April 20, 2006, Zeng had a private meeting with the Chen. Chen presented a model of the latest Boeing 787 aircraft at that time. Zeng greatly appreciated the gesture.
Chinese state media revealed Zeng also attended the 2006 Boao Forum for Asia before traveling to Hainan. Zeng still meets with Chen closely, which suggests he favors the businessman.
Hong Kong media once quoted sources describing HNA as a “minor treasury” of high-ranking CCP officials. Jiang’s grandson, Alvin, holds shares in HNA. Top leaders of Henan province and disciples of Jiang and Zeng also own shares in the same company.