Visitors wearing masks walk near a gate at the West Lake in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Sunday. (AP)
Visitors wearing masks walk near a gate at the West Lake in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Sunday. (AP)

Ex-chief of Chinese defence giant Norinco under probe for graft

The former chairperson of one of China’s largest arms manufacturers is being probed for suspected disciplinary violations including graft
By Sutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda
UPDATED ON APR 04, 2021 09:16 PM IST

The former chairperson of one of China’s largest arms manufacturers is being probed for suspected disciplinary violations including graft.

Yin Jiaxu, 65, the ex-chief of Chinese defence giant China North Industries Group Co (Norinco) is being probed for “serious violation” of laws and regulations, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the country’s top anti-graft watchdog said in a brief statement, published on its website, on Sunday.

Yin, who headed the high-profile Fortune 500 company between 2013 and 2018, is the latest former senior official from the defence industry to be probed.

The CCDI, according to Beijing Daily, found that during Yin’s term as head of the group for five years some senior officials in the group had abused their powers for personal gains, providing unjustified convenience for their spouses, children, and relatives to run businesses or enterprises.

“Born in 1956, he was the deputy general manager of China South Industries Group Co in 2002, and later served as the deputy general manager of Norinco in 2010, then as the chairman from 2013. Yin retired in 2018,” the state media report said.

Norinco provides weapons and technical support to China’s People’s Liberation Army and is engaged in the oil and gas business.

The group says on its website that according to Fortune 500 company rankings in 2020, it was placed “…154th in the world top 500 corporations with $68.7 billion operating revenue, and ranks number 1 among military enterprises in China. Since entering the world’s top 500 in 2010, Norinco group has been listed for the 11th consecutive year on the Fortune (list)”.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which tracks the global defence industry said in its December report that Norinco was the ninth-largest arms company in the world and third-largest in China, after Aviation Industry Corporation of China and China Electronics Technology Group Corporation.

According to SIPRI, the top 25 defence companies had four Chinese firms.

“Three are in the top 10: Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC; 6th), China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC; 8th) and China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco; 9th). The combined revenue of the four Chinese companies in the top 25 - which also include China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC; 24th) - grew by 4.8% between 2018 and 2019,” the report said.

President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has netted several senior officials including those in the defence industry since it was launched in his first term.

In January, it was announced that the former chief of China’s multi-billion aircraft carrier programme and head of one of the largest shipping companies, Hu Wenming, would be arrested on charges of corruption.

Hu was expelled from the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2020 for severely violating party discipline and being suspected of taking bribes and misfeasance.

Hu had worked in several major state-owned arms companies including AVIC, Norinco, and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and eventually CSIC, according to People’s Daily.

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