Documents reveal secret migration of the wealthy from China, led by the richest woman in Asia
Yang Huiyan, with an estimated fortune of $ 20.3 billion, is among the more than 500 Chinese that Al Jazeera claimed to have received a Cypriot ‘gold visa’ in recent years
More than 500 Chinese obtained EU citizenship in Cyprus between 2017 and 2019, including the richest woman in Asia, according to documents – ‘Cyprus Papers’ – which was obtained by Al Jazeera television.
The document, which allegedly contains information on 2,500 migrations to Cyprus during that period, appears to unravel the secretive migration plans of the Chinese elite.
Al Jazeera, Qatar’s state broadcaster, has not released the full list of immigrants who have obtained citizenship in Cyprus through ‘gold visas’, as the disclosure focuses on people with backgrounds who may violate the rules for obtaining citizenship in countries the European Union. Among the more than 500 approved Chinese candidates, the broadcaster released eight names, led by Yang Huiyan, the main owner of Chinese real estate Country Garden.
Yang was named by Forbes as the sixth richest woman in the world in 2020, with a fortune of $ 20.3 billion. Country Garden did not respond to several requests for comment.
It is legal for Chinese citizens to apply for permanent residence or citizenship in foreign countries. However, when a Chinese citizen obtains foreign citizenship, it can result in the automatic loss of their Chinese citizenship, as China does not recognize dual nationality.
Among the eight Chinese candidates nominated by Al Jazeera, five, including Yang, were announced because they could be seen as “politically exposed people” because of their own affiliation or because of their family’s affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party.
Yang’s wealth came mainly from his father, Yeung Kwok Keung. He is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CCPPC), Beijing’s main political advisory body.
The document that has now been released shows that Yang received Cypriot citizenship on October 23, 2018.
The second Chinese “politically exposed person” is Lu Wenbin, a delegate from the Chengdu People’s Congress. According to the document provided by Al Jazeera, Lu obtained a Cypriot passport in July 2019. Lu is the president of Sichuan Troy Information Technology, a city-based computer network company.
Chen Anlin, a member of the CCPPC in Huangpi district of Wuhan, Hubei province, and director of CECEP Central China Industry Development, a subsidiary of the China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group, obtained Cypriot citizenship in July 2018; Fu Zhengjun, who was a member of the CCPPC municipal committee for the city of Jinhua in Zhejiang province, from 2011 to 2017, received a Cypriot passport in November 2017; and Zhao Zhenpeng, a member of the local Binzhou CCPPC in Shandong Province, obtained his citizenship in February 2019, Al Jazeera also revealed.
It is recalled that, about a year ago, Sun Xiang, a delegate of the Hebei People’s Congress, was stripped of his membership two days after he was found in possession of a Saint Kitts and Nevis passport issued in 2011 Also last year, Zhou Yanbo, president of a private school, was removed from the Shanxi People’s Political Advisory Committee for hiding his Canadian residence permit, although the document expired in 2018, and there was no renewal.