China

Macau luxury fair cancelled 'because of China corruption probe'

A pedestrian walks past a luxury watch shop in a major shopping district in Shanghai on 19 December 2013. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Lavish spending and expensive gifts have been discouraged under China's anti-corruption campaign

A Macau luxury goods fair is being cancelled, its organisers say, because of China's crackdown on corruption.

The Europe Asian Watch, Jewelry and Antique Coins Show had to be cancelled because of restrictions on officials entering casinos, the organisers said.

The news came as a senior official and an executive linked to Volkswagen were targeted for corruption.

China has gone after thousands of public officials and individuals in the private sector since 2012.

In a message posted on the Europe Asian show's website, event manager Vincci Tung apologised to exhibitors and visitors for cancelling the event because of the "recent political crisis in China" - its fight against corruption.

The event was originally due to have been held from 2 to 3 May.

Mr Tung's statement said that the government was prohibiting officials of any level from entering casinos, and as the show was being hosted at a casino-hotel, this ruling would directly affect their "VIP customers admission".

Hong Kong and Macau have traditionally been favoured by mainland Chinese big spenders for shopping and gambling.

The BBC's South Asia regional editor Jill McGivering says the Communist Party has always forbidden gambling but, until the launch of the recent anti-corruption campaign, many officials nonetheless flocked to Macau's casinos to place bets - and often spent their winnings on luxury goods.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Zhou has been charged with bribery, abuse of power and the intentional disclosure of state secrets

Since taking power in 2012, President Xi Jinping has been conducting a massive crackdown on corruption and has urged officials to live frugally.

Luxurious banquets, lavish spending and expensive gifts have been discouraged, with Mr Xi at one point championing simple meals in his "four dishes and one soup" campaign.

Among the bigger names hauled up is former security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is awaiting trial.

The latest official to be investigated is Gao Jinsong, the party boss of the southwestern city of Kunming. The Communist Party announced that he was suspected of "seriously violating discipline and the law", using its euphemism for corruption.

His arrest came after two other officials in the same province of Yunnan were investigated for graft earlier this year as well.

Local media also reported that a court in the northeastern province of Jilin sentenced a former executive with FAW-Volkswagen to life imprisonment.

Shi Tao was a deputy general manager of the joint venture between the German auto company and Chinese car maker First Automative Works. He was found guilty of accepting 33 million yuan ($5.3m, £3.6m) in bribes.

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