The second ranked official from southwestern China’s Yunnan province headed to Beijing for the annual meeting of China’s legislature earlier this month, but failed to return home with the rest of his delegation after being detained over what are said to have been corrupt real estate deals.
Immediately following the close of the National People’s Congress on the 15th, China’s primary anti-corruption agency announced that Qiu He, the deputy Communist Party head of Yunnan Province and a member of the legislature, was under investigation for “serious discipline and law violations,” according to an account on news portal Caixin.
Qiu was detained suddenly at his Beijing hotel just after the Congress’ closing ceremony, but there has been a string of investigations into Yunnan officials for around one year, after former Yunnan vice governor Shen Peiping was investigated for graft starting in March 2014.
Qiu He Taken in Over Land Deals
The Caixin report cites sources close to the investigation as linking the case against Qiu He to real estate deals in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan. Qiu formerly served as mayor of Kunming, starting in 2007, before rising up the ranks first as party secretary of Kuming, before becoming vice secretary of the province in late 2011.
The detained official came to Yunnan from eastern China’s Jiangsu province, and is said to have brought many of his contacts from that wealthy section of the Yangtze River Delta with him to take on major projects in Yunnan.
Businessman Liu Weigao, who built a famous trading center in the Zhejiang city of Yiwu was awarded the rights to develop the New Luosiwan International Trade Center, a 3 million square metre trading hub and distribution centre that serves as a gateway for trade with Southeast Asia.
According to China-watching site East by Southeast, Qiu knew Liu from when the official served as party secretary in the city of Suqian in Jiangsu, where Liu is also said to be based.
Unfortunately, for both the official and the businessman, Liu came under investigation in February and Qiu’s detention came just one month after.
Following the investigation into Shen Peiping last year, a former Kunming Party as well as a former provincial party boss were also both detained for graft.
Kunming Was a Tripping Point in Agile’s 2014 Troubles
Corrupt land deals in Yunnan were part of what landed Hong Kong-listed developer Agile Properties in trouble last year.
Following accusations of graft related to land acquisition in Yunnan and Hainan, Agile boss Chen Zhuolin, as well as another director of the Guangzhou-based company, ended up being detained by authorities for more than two months as part of a corruption probe.
There was no direct indication in the news surrounding Qiu He’s detention that the case against the fallen politician was related to dealings with Agile.