China may have taken down another senior financial figure in the banking sector, just days after its ongoing anti-corruption campaign targeted top insurance regulator Xiang Junbo.
Fifty-six-year-old Yang Jiacai, assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) was reported to be “out of contact” since Tuesday, April 11, by Chinese media Caixin and Caijing.
The commission has not replied to questions on the matter made by the South China Morning Post so far.
Caixin reported Yang had transferred all his responsibilities to his colleague, the commission’s vice-chairman Cao Yu.
Market sources are circulating the message that Yang is related to the investigation of Xiang, chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, who fell under investigation last Sunday.
The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, said “the good part of the play has yet to come”, in a story published in its subordinate new media edition on Monday when commenting on Xiang’s fall from grace, suggesting it had just raised the bar for a broader-scale anti-corruption campaign across the financial sector.
Yang made his last public appearance a week ago during a press conference for the CBRC, during which he introduced some heavy-handed regulatory moves planned by the commission.
He has made some colourful comments this year when talking about rectifying the wrongdoings in the lending market, particularly some fraud-based peer-to-peer lending.
“Illegal fundraising works in some way like an innocent girl falling in love with a disguised swindler. Love will turn into hatred when the investors find out they have been cheated and dumped,” he said in a press conference in early March.
Yang would become the highest-ranking banking regulator that has been brought under investigation since China stepped up its crackdown on wrongdoings in the financial markets.
Last Sunday, the Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog announced 60-year-old Xiang was accused of having “severely violated party discipline” and was currently under investigation.
His case is believed to be linked to the abnormally fast emergence of China’s unlisted small insurance companies, including Huaxia Life Insurance, controlled by troubled businessman Xiao Jianhua, who was taken in for investigation from his residence in Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel ahead of the Lunar New Year.
In November 2015, the watchdog announced 53-year-old Yao Gang, then vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, was placed under investigation for alleged corruption. The result of that investigation has yet to be made public.
Yao was in charge of initial public offering approvals before moving to other duties in 2015 and was believed to be linked to events surrounding the great stock rout that summer, which wiped out trillions in market value in just two trading days.