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China's 'super rich' legislators get richer
[BEIJING] The Chinese Communist Party's annual legislative session will count more than 150 "super rich" members whose total net worth has soared to US$650 billion, or double Ireland's annual GDP, a report showed Friday.
From internet tycoons to real estate barons and auto industry leaders, some of the wealthiest people in the world's second-largest economy will grace the corridors of the Great Hall of the People for meetings that start this weekend.
Some are members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a top advisory body, which convenes on Saturday.
Others will attend the National People's Congress, the rubber-stamp legislature, which opens its two-week session on Monday.
The NPC has the momentous task this year of passing a constitutional amendment that will lift presidential term limits, clearing the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power beyond the end of his second five-year term in 2023.
Of the 5,130 delegates expected at the two assemblies, 153 individuals are among the "super rich" compared to 209 last year, according to a survey by Shanghai-based luxury magazine publisher Hurun Report.
While there are fewer of them this year, their net worth totals US$650 billion, up from US$507 billion last year, according to Hurun.
The list includes 102 dollar billionaires, roughly the same number as in 2017.
NPC delegates include Pony Ma, the chief of internet giant Tencent and the richest of all legislators with US$47 billion, smartphone maker Xiaomi's CEO Lei Jun and car manufacturer Geely's chairman, Li Shufu.
Among delegates attending the CCPPC meeting are Baidu's Robin Li, Liu Qiangdong, the founder of e-commerce giant JD.com, and real estate developer Evergrande's Xi Jiayin, the second-richest attendee with a net worth of US$41 billion.
Among this year's delegates, 28 were among China's 100 richest people on Hurun's annual list of the country's wealthiest individuals last year.
The super rich remain welcome in parliament even as the government has moved aggressively over the past year to slam the brakes on private companies which have ran up gargantuan debts to fund pricey overseas acquisitions.
The founder of insurer Anbang is now facing prosecution over "economic crimes", and according to Caixin financial magazine, the founder and chairman of the CEFC China Energy group has also been placed under investigation.