#87: UNACCOUNTABLE ASSETS AND THE NEW CRYSTAL PALACE

cherry trees on Crystal Palace Hill Top

SAVE THE HILL TOP

A campaign for local parkland hosted by the Friends of Belair Park.

We have a second searching question for London’s politicians concerning the proposed disposal of around half of Crystal Palace Park to big business in the form of China’s ZhongRong Group (ZRG). The question comes in three parts.

Question 2 –

a) whose money is really behind this project?   b) into whose bank accounts will the profits go?   c) will the profiteers officially declare their income?

Here are four short quotations which remind us how little we can actually know for certain about how money may be moving in the muddy waters between Beijing (where anti-corruption protesters are being forcibly suppressed) and Crystal Palace, South London (where a legalised theft of our parkland by ZRG is in danger of being enforced arbitrarily by London Mayor Boris Johnson, through his draconian planning powers.

In January, 2014, Xu Zhiyong, founder member of the New Citizens’ Movement, was jailed for four years by a Chinese court after a closed hearing. He had been deemed guilty of “gathering crowds to disrupt public order”.

1.“The charges related to small-scale, peaceful street protests by members of the movement, calling for educational equality and for officials to declare their assets.”The Guardian Jan. 26, 2014.

2. “Right now, government officials are taking all of their wealth and transferring it abroad. All Xu Zhiyong did was demand that they declare their assets. He did nothing wrong.” Chinese campaigner quoted in The Guardian Jan. 23, 2014.
3. “The composition of the Chinese government’s huge accumulated portfolio of overseas assets is a state secret.” Douglas McWilliams City A.M. Feb. 11, 2014.
4. “It has been confirmed to us by ZRG’s agents that the Chinese Government is an investor in ZhongRong.” Open letter: Concerns about process in the land deal that is part of the ZhongRong Group’s proposal in Crystal Palace.
We do not have to be able to prove wrong-doing here – the simple fact that we can’t penetrate the murky waters is scandal enough.

We have no way of knowing whether or not the proposed Crystal Palace development is going to swell the bank accounts of those who are abusing the powers of the state to intimidate and silence Chinese citizens who have requested in a peaceful and responsible fashion that they disclose their full assets.

Those in public life have a responsibility to conduct themselves with such transparency that they are above suspicion. We hope that UK politicians of all parties will make haste to distance themselves from this inappropriate arrangement between the Mayor of London and ZRG.

To volunteer to assist our campaign please email:

friendsofbelairpark@hotmail.co.uk

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